Why Mateusz Klich looks set to become Leeds United’s trump card
It has been a fine start to the season for Leeds United under new manager Marcelo Bielsa. The Whites currently sit atop the EFL Championship table after 11 matches, having accumulated 22 points. Their only defeat this term came to former manager Garry Monk’s Birmingham City.
Last weekend, Leeds came back from being a goal down to take a point away against local rivals Sheffield Wednesday at the Hillsborough, courtesy a remarkable strike from midfielder Mateusz Klich.
It was another important contribution from Klich, who has grown into a pivotal player for the Whites. The 28-year-old signed for Leeds from Dutch outfit FC Twente in the summer of 2017, following his impressive performances in the Netherlands.
However, things did not begin well for the midfielder as he found himself on the fringes of the first-team under then manager Thomas Christiansen. Klich featured in just five Championship matches in the first half of the season and due to a lack of playing time, the Polish international left the club in January, joining FC Utrecht on loan till the end of the season.
Klich seemed to have recovered his touch back in the Netherlands, as he managed to bag a goal and set up three more in 14 appearances, before returning to Leeds at the end of the season. Upon his return, the midfielder found himself facing an uncertain future. However, since Bielsa’s arrival, he has thrived for the Whites.
In the new season so far, Klich has produced returns of four goals and three assists from 11 Championship appearances, establishing himself as a key cog in the scheme of things for the manager. In Bielsa’s system, the Polish international has been afforded the freedom to impact the game in the attacking half of the pitch. At the same time, he has also remained responsible for his defensive duties.
As per stats website WhoScored.com, no player has won possession in the middle of the park more times than the Leeds star. The 28-year-old has averaged 2.7 tackles, 1.1 blocks and 0.4 interceptions for every ninety minutes he has been on the field while attempting 53.9 passes per 90 minutes at a success-rate of 82.9%.
Klich has played 1.1 key passes every game and has also averaged 1.5 shots at goal, highlighting his impact in the attacking half of the field.
Against Wednesday, he was immensely solid in the middle, while scoring the all-important equalizer in the second period.
Klich brings a sense of solidity and strength to the midfield with his aggressive mindset and exemplary work-rate. His tough-tackling approach, combined with his ability to start attacks from deeper positions, makes him an asset to Bielsa’s side. And if Leeds are to be in contention for promotion, the Poland international will have a crucial role to play.