A dramatic comeback but who made it all Klich?

When you think about the most important players for Leeds United, most would say Phillips, Hernandez and maybe this season, Harrison however the player that makes it all Klich, is Mateusz.  The Polish International was on his way out of Leeds when Marcelo Bielsa arrived, but an impressive pre-season saw him become the first name on the team sheet. Since Bielsa took over at Leeds, Mateusz Klich has played every single league game and there is a reason for this, his relentless pressing and midfield runs into the half spaces. So far this season he’s only scored 3 goals from a xG of 5.31 (infogol) and this has lead to some criticism from fans. Klich is self aware and knows that he needs to score more goals, however fans sometimes fail to see what he offers to the team. Pressing is key for a Marcelo Bielsa team and so far this season, Klich has won possession in the final third 25 times, joint most in the league (FotMob). 

Patrick Bamford and Pablo Hernandez got the goals in Leeds United brilliant comeback against Millwall winning 3-2 after being 2-0 down and both players got the headlines. The key player in the game for me was Klich. His reading of the game was brilliant and his pressing was vital in winning the ball high up the pitch and setting Leeds on the front foot.

The above situation could have been costly for Leeds had Millwall beat the press. There is two passing options for the Millwall player but Klich positioned himself perfectly to force the pass backwards, initially cutting off the passing lane and eventually stealing back possession. Both his heat map and tackle map show that Klich was covering every blade of the pitch last night and suffocated Millwall’s players. 

He made 5 tackles which was the joint most and 9 ball recoveries (most for Leeds) which just shows how vital he was on last night.

Tackle map via WhoScored.com

As previously mentioned, Klich has played every league game under Bielsa which is quite astonishing, baring in mind his running output in each game. Klich isn’t technically as good as Hernandez nor is he going to get on the ball and ping 50 yard passes like Phillips. He is though the engine of the team and one of the most vital cogs in Leeds United’s system. Last night he should have scored and luckily we wasn’t punished for it. 

Klich does things in games that a lot of fans don’t notice but you don’t play the amount of games he has under Bielsa if you aren’t making a difference on the pitch. It was a massive win last night for Leeds in the promotion race and despite not contributing to the goals, Klich played a key role in picking up all three points. With Forshaw still out and Phillips suspended for two more games, a fit and firing Mateusz Klich is going to be crucial in winning midfield battles. After 10 days without a game, Klich looked full of energy last night. Now to find them scoring boots.

Written by Thomas Wilson.

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