Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa says that he would prefer to see his players face off against Jack Grealish, amid doubt over the severity of the Aston Villa captain’s leg injury.
Grealish missed last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester with a shin injury and his recovery timescale remains unclear.
Indeed, BBC Sport has claimed that he could be out for up to a month. However, boss Dean Smith’s focus is on finding out how Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers learned of the injury so soon.
Smith hopes that Grealish can be fit for Saturday’s clash with Leeds, a sentiment shared by his Leeds counterpart Bielsa.
“On one side he is a great player, a player who can unbalance,” the Argentine told reporters at his pre-match press conference (via Leeds Live).
“I always prefer the opponent has their best players available because even if that fortifies a team, the best players make their teams more scary, more difficult to face.
“They’re also a stimulus for us. To face such players who are playing so well, to neutralise them, looking to impose yourself on an opponent with their best players and not debilitated.
“Like I said before, they’re a team with players to cover any absences.”
Leeds head into the match after beating Southampton 3-0 at Elland Road on Tuesday. The Whites also beat Villa 3-0 in the game between the sides earlier this season.
Patrick Bamford, who netted against the Saints, scored a hat-trick against the Villains in October.
And as similarities go, Bielsa added that he can see resemblances between Leeds and Villa this season.
Bielsa outlines Leeds, Villa similarities
“This is their second year back in the Premier League and they have made corrections,” Bielsa said.
“That’s an advantage because corrections come from mistakes made. It’s impossible to come from the Championship to the Premier League and not make errors because the levels are totally different.
“I do see a certain similarity in the characteristics of the players in each position.
“The players they have in each position, referring to the full-backs, the centre-backs, the defensive midfielder, the box-to-box and offensive midfielders, the two wingers and the centre forward – they’re players with similar characteristics to those we have.
“If you see something similar I do as well.”
Leeds will still be without the injured Kalvin Phillips and Rodrigo. However, Bielsa said he was unsure of Mateusz Klich’s availability.