Noel Whelan has insisted Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa must adapt his system to help “isolated” striker Rodrigo if Patrick Bamford is not passed fit to face Wolves on Saturday.
The former Whites striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed Bielsa’s set-up was “very congested” in the loss against Southampton last weekend.
As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post yesterday (October 19th), Leeds United currently have six players on the treatment table – including hitman Patrick Bamford, who hadn’t yet returned to full training before the Southampton clash.
Bamford had scored once in five league games before picking up an ankle injury in September.
Rodrigo has cut an isolated figure in his absence after assuming the out-and-out striker role.
The striker had the least touches of any starter on both sides (22) during the Southampton loss (per WhoScored).
Bielsa switched formations from the 4-1-4-1 system which gave Leeds United their maiden league victory against Watford. He instead opted to tackle the Saints with a 5-4-1 system.
Whelan insisted the Whites were “missing” a midfielder during the defeat, and hoped that Rodrigo could adapt his ‘false nine’ style if Bamford continues to be sidelined this weekend.
“When you play the three at the back, you’re missing a player in midfield, that was recognisable against Southampton,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“Rodrigo does look very isolated out there – we need to get people closer to him.
“He’s a very different striker to Patrick Bamford, he likes to come short and link up play.
“Someone needs to run beyond him and we didn’t see that last week, it makes it comfortable for opponents. It was just very congested.
“Rodrigo just needs to sometimes mix his runs up to keep defences guessing.”
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