The injuries to Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford handed Tyler Roberts another opportunity to prove himself in Leeds United’s centre-forward position against Preston last night.
After a profligate display against Millwall on Saturday, the former West Brom man took his next chance with both hands; netting twice to put Alex Neil’s side to the sword at Elland Road.
In Bamford’s long-term absence, Roberts looks to be second-choice striker, but Bielsa was not initally convinced he was a frontman…
What did Bielsa say?
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post after the match, Bielsa said: ““He started the pre-season work later than others. He has done many efforts.
“I asked him to play as a right winger and heard he liked to play as a number nine. Circumstances offered him a place in the team in the position where I thought he didn’t have to play.
“In the game against Millwall he had four chances to score and today scored two goals so it’s an interesting performance. He’s a very young player and I’m very happy for him. He deserves it.”
Bielsa gets it right even when he’s wrong
Last night’s display saw Roberts prove that he is not a right-winger after all; he can play through the middle and lead the line.
So, Bielsa’s early assessment was wrong on that front. However, Roberts was looking like a waste of money last season; he wasn’t up to the task.
Bielsa has changed that. His adventurous style of play created four chances for Roberts at the Den on Saturday; not many teams get that many opportunities against such a well-drilled outfit.
He has also injected confidence into Roberts; to the extent that he can overcome a delayed pre-season and take up the slack in Roofe’s absence.
Bamford is a big miss, but Bielsa’s methods may have turned Roberts into viable cover for Roofe.