Marcelo Bielsa has heaped praise on Reading midfielder John Swift after his performance in the 1-0 defeat to Leeds United at the weekend.
Bielsa saw his Leeds side climb five points clear of third place thanks to a 1-0 win over the Royals, with Fulham, Brentford and Nottingham Forest all dropping points over the course of the weekend.
The Whites took the lead on 57 minutes through Pablo Hernandez, and managed to hold onto the lead despite having to play without Kalvin Phillips for less than an hour.
Reading made it tough for Leeds, though, and if they were more clinical in front of goal then Mark Bowen’s could have left Elland Road with a respectable point on another day.
Swift – who operated in the number 10 role for Reading – made life difficult for Leeds, picking out plenty of key passes and picking up some dangerous positions, which in turn nullified the threat of Mateusz Klich.
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This is something that Bielsa pointed out after the game, and speaking in his post-match press conference (6:05), the Argentine singled out Swift for praise.
He said: “Swift is a great player. I rate him a lot. He is a player who appears suddenly in attack and the same in transition. Especially when he passes from the defence to the attack.
“Klich is a player who attacks a lot. I thought Klich was going to attack well, but maybe he was unable to defend Swift well. I think Klich was more worried to defend than attack.”
Reading are a decent footballing side who ultimately couldn’t cope with Leeds’ quality on and off the ball at the weekend.
They have some decent players in the likes of Andy Rinomhota and Ovie Ejaria, but the onus was on Swift to impress after Ejaria picked up an injury right before the game.
It would be interesting to see whether Leeds went in for Swift this summer if they didn’t go up, especially now Bielsa has admitted he likes him as a player.