Kalvin Phillips opens up on Leeds' struggles in 2021

Tom Gott
Phillips admits Leeds are in a relegation battle
Phillips admits Leeds are in a relegation battle / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips has confessed that teams have figured out how to play against them, but backed manager Marcelo Bielsa to find a way out of the current rut.

Bielsa's men finished ninth in the Premier League in their debut year last season, but have slumped down to 16th this time around and currently find themselves on a run of just three victories from their last 14 matches.

Injuries and absences of key players like Phillips has not helped that run, but Leeds have also been accused of making some inexcusable mistakes and sleepwalking into a real relegation battle because of some unconvincing tactics.

"One of the main things is that we’ve now played every team before. We are not new any more. A lot of teams are coming to us and knowing how to play against us," Phillips confessed to the Daily Mail. "They are changing their formation two or three times every game, and it does cause us disruption in the way we play. There is a bit of confusion.

"We’ve played like this for four years and I can honestly say we’re not doing as well as last year, but I also think we’ve been quite unlucky. Some games we’ve lost in the dying minutes, we maybe could have dealt with them better.

"I’m not a person to blame people or blame the manager. I’m more a person who blames myself. I want to do as best as I possibly can for the team. But when I’m sat here injured I can’t do that."

Asked whether he felt as though Leeds needed a change of approach, Phillips made his feelings abundantly clear.

"No, we don’t change," he said. "The manager is very stubborn in the way that he plays. He knows what he wants to do.

"To be honest, I don’t know how we’d do if we tried to change because we’ve played in a certain way for so long. I don’t know how well we’d take it on board.

"We’ll just stick to what we know and work as hard as we can and play the way we do. It’s exciting football, not just for us, but the fans. We don’t want to defend for 90 minutes and try to nick a late winner. That’s not how we play."

On Leeds' chances of survival this year, Phillips admitted: "I'm not soo sure, we'll have to see how it goes.

"We weren’t the best team last year. We’re not the worst this year. We have a very good chance of staying up, once we correct a few things, like concentrating a little bit more at the end of a game. I think the points will start coming in."