Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has paid tribute to Harvey Elliott over the Liverpool star’s “generous” efforts to prevent Pascal Struijk serving a three-match suspension.
The 22-year-old received a straight red card on Sunday for his tackle on Liverpool’s Elliott. While not directly a result of the challenge, the midfielder suffered an ankle dislocation. As such, he has had surgery.
The Reds expect him to play again this season, but have not put a timescale on his recovery.
As for Leeds, meanwhile, they appealed against the red card.
But the Whites have failed. Struijk will therefore miss Leeds’ game at Newcastle on Friday as the first part of his ban.
However, he will also miss the Carabao Cup tie at Fulham four days later and the home clash with West Ham the following Saturday.
That suspension, however, comes despite the best efforts of Elliott in trying to defend the Leeds man.
Upon hearing the fate of the Leeds star, Elliott sent Struijk a message on social media.
“Sorry about this Pascal,” he wrote on Instagram. “I think it’s wrong! But It’ll soon blow over brother and you’ll be back in no time smashing it again. Keep positive.”
Elliott’s magnanimous defence of the Leeds star, despite him the one seriously counting the cost, has drawn widespread applause.
Now Leeds boss Bielsa has weighed in to show his appreciation for the stricken Reds teenager.
“It’s very easy to clear up. Without Pascal on the pitch, the superiority of Liverpool was evident. The second thing is that there was an appearance in the four/five games played, is Elliott. The same appearances as [Mason] Mount or [Phil] Foden and those who love football, when a player of that nature is injured, we’re saddened.
“Pascal is a noble person, with good intentions and of course he regrets the injury.”
Speaking in a presser via Leeds Live, Bielsa said of the Reds star: “The generosity Elliott had to describe things as they were, it helps to ease the effect on Pascal.
“The footballers always end up being the most pure thing in football, the players say what they think without speculating.
“When the injury to Elliott happened, the demands of it was explicit, the convenience of playing half an hour with one player less, behind evidently a grave injury to player, the pressure of the referee had that intention. But the players are a lot less speculative than us.”
The Whites have endured a sticky start to the season, drawing with Everton and Burnley, but being picked off at ease by Manchester United and Liverpool. However, they travel to Newcastle on Friday night for a crucial match looking to get that winning feeling back.
The match suddenly takes more importance for Leeds given their start.
However, Bielsa is refusing to panic and insists they will stick by their beliefs.
“So far this season we’ve played against Man United, Liverpool and Everton who are all high in the table and we played an opponent like Burnley who was also in need of points like us.
“The difficulty of the next game is not superior to the games that I’ve singled out. I can assure you not any game that was played in the week would allow for a long period of the competition to find a game without any pressure.”
Bielsa has also expressed sympathy for Steve Bruce amid recent criticism from a section of Newcastle fans.
“I always feel saddened when this happens to a manager and the own fans go against them. It’s one of the worst feelings that a manager can have.”