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Bielsa’s problems in humble Leeds, like operating with a small squad, all on her own.

Marcelo Bielsa’s desire to work with a small team in troubled Leeds is being exposed by a long list of injuries with Raphinha the last to limp out on Elland Road.

  • Leeds rescued a last-gasp draw at home against Leeds thanks to Rodrigo’s penalty
  • Despite the joy of Leeds, they remain just above the drop zone with a win of nine
  • Marcelo Bielsa chose to have a small squad this season that is being exposed
  • Whites’ disabled list grows, but winger Joe Gelhardt offers hope


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Over the weekend a story emerged of the police in Oslo responding to a ‘report of loud screaming from an apartment’, only to find that it had been a Leeds fan celebrating his team’s late goal.

“The patrol contacted a cheerful soccer fan,” the Norwegian force explained in a tweet. “He recognized a loud noise in connection with a penalty.”

From the floors in Oslo to the stands on Elland Road, Rodrigo’s 94th-minute draw against the Wolves unleashed chaos among Leeds fans on Saturday. And yet, in the sober light of Sunday morning, those fans will have looked at a chart showing their team on the fourth floor with a win in nine games.

Leeds rescued a late draw at home against Wolves thanks to Rodrigo's last-minute penalty (above)

Leeds rescued a late draw at home against Wolves thanks to Rodrigo’s last-minute penalty (above)

Marcelo Bielsa's men remain in 17th place with only one victory in the first nine games

Marcelo Bielsa's men remain in 17th place with only one victory in the first nine games

Marcelo Bielsa’s men remain in 17th place with only one victory in the first nine games

Leeds late rally, inspired by talented teenager Joe Gelhardt, can’t hide the fact that they appear to be suffering from season two syndrome. The failures of Marcelo Bielsa’s team are there for all to see, including his apparent inability to cope without Kalvin Phillips.

The English midfielder stayed on the bench as Bielsa opted for caution upon his return from calf and hip problems. But Leeds have won only two of the 12 Premier League games they have missed, compared to 49 percent when they play.

Another problem has been the absence of last season’s top scorer, Patrick Bamford, not only because of his goals but also because of his work rate. In his place against the Wolves, Bielsa tried Dan James as a center forward.

But the former Manchester United player, who has struggled to justify his £ 25 million price tag, seemed lost before it was reopened.

Winger Joe Gelhardt (third from left), 19, was Leeds's salvation, winning the penalty at the end

Winger Joe Gelhardt (third from left), 19, was Leeds's salvation, winning the penalty at the end

Winger Joe Gelhardt (third from left), 19, was Leeds’s salvation, winning the penalty at the end

Rodrigo’s penalty, meanwhile, was his first goal of the season. And what Bielsa would give for an association of strikers like the one the Wolves have in Raúl Jiménez and Hwang Hee-chan, who joined for the South Koreans’ first game in the 10th minute.

Bielsa’s problems could be compounded if the leg injury that forced star winger Raphinha to retire is worse than what the Brazilian did on social media, saying it was nothing serious.

But some of these problems are the work of the Leeds manager himself. The more his treatment table fills up, the more his insistence on operating with a small team becomes exposed, with James and Junior Firpo being the only real additions to his first XI in the summer.

Leeds' injury problems are now piling up on Bielsa's team, with Raphinha (right) a new victim

Leeds' injury problems are now piling up on Bielsa's team, with Raphinha (right) a new victim

Leeds’ injury problems are now piling up on Bielsa’s team, with Raphinha (right) a new victim

Bielsa has to fill her bank of children, although that at least has given Gelhardt a chance.

The 19-year-old changed the game on Saturday, his run earned Leeds a penalty and earned him comparisons to Lionel Messi for Sportsmail’s Martin Keown.

After a bleak start to the campaign, the England Under 21 forward could well be the spark that lights up Leeds’ season.

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