Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has revealed the reason why he chose to leave defender Tom Pearce out of his starting line-up against Nottingham Forest last weekend.

The Whites drew the game at Elland Road 1-1 after Kemar Roofe bundled in a controversial goal with eight minutes remaining.

Bielsa lined up with Stuart Dallas at left-back and Pearce on the substitutes bench although after 25 minutes, the latter came onto the field as a replacement for injured right-back Luke Ayling.

However, 20 minutes into the second half the 20-year-old was removed from the field of play with Jack Clarke thrown on in his place as Bielsa looked to get Leeds back into the game.

Pearce has been a regular on the substitutes bench for the Whites in the league this season and has only started in the Carabao Cup, playing the full 90 minutes against both Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End.

But with Barry Douglas unavailable through injury, some expected the youngster to have been given more first-team opportunities.

Instead, Dallas has so far been preferred to Pearce after starting the season in the midfield and also featuring in defence, which Bielsa explained is part of the reasoning behind his decision.

“In the last game, when Dallas came he had a very good performance, as a right-back,” he told Leeds Live.

“It was hard for me to take the decision not to put (Pearce) in the team.

“I was positively impressed by Dallas, who, as a left-back, had a regular performance.

“When he played as a right-back he played very well, he had a very important performance.”

Dallas is also considerably more experienced than Pearce and with the club already missing Gaetano Berardi, Bielsa was clearly reluctant to play the youngster.

However, with Ayling now facing a lengthy lay-off himself, the Argentine will be forced to rejig his defence again for Sunday’s Championship trip to Wigan.

But Pearce could be set to miss out once more as Douglas is now on the comeback trail and having played for the Under-23s in midweek, may be in contention to start.


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