Bielsa hopes Villa's Grealish is available to face Leeds

Jack Grealish
Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has six goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa says he hopes Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish is available to face his side at Elland Road on Saturday.

Grealish was absent for Villa’s 2-1 defeat by Leicester last weekend with a leg injury and it is unclear when he will return to Dean Smith’s side.

Argentine Bielsa said Grealish, 25, is “a great player who can unbalance you”.

However, he added that the presence of talented players such as Grealish in an opposing side can act as a “stimulus”.

Bielsa added: “I always prefer that opponents have their best players available because even if that fortifies a team and makes them more scary to face, it’s also a stimulus for us to face such players and to try to neutralise them.”

Smith, who said he will investigate how news of Grealish’s injury emerged 24 hours before their match against Leicester, said it is not a long-term problem for the England midfielder.

Leeds are 10th after 25 games in their first season back in the Premier League, one point behind eighth-placed Villa who they beat 3-0 in October. Villa have two games in hand.

Bielsa will be without Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo and Robin Koch on Saturday, though Mateusz Klich could be available.

On Phillips, the Leeds boss said: “His injury is in his calf and it’s in a place where we have to avoid a recurrence because that would make the situation worse. We’re being very cautious so that when he returns he returns for definite.”

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