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Marcelo Bielsa dismisses talk of rift with 'Leeds idol' Kalvin Phillips after Brighton substitution

Kalvin Phillips substituted at half-time during Saturday's goalless draw at Brighton; Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp questions state of relationship between the pair; Marcelo Bielsa: "I did what I thought was best, but in no way does that mean that there's a difficulty with anyone"

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Marcelo Bielsa has downplayed rumours of a rift with Kalvin Phillips and says the Leeds midfielder is available for Tuesday's game against Crystal Palace

Marcelo Bielsa has assured Leeds fans there is no problem between him and Kalvin Phillips after the England midfielder was substituted in Saturday's draw at Brighton.

Bielsa said Phillips' status as a Leeds "idol" was "completely deserved" and insisted his decision to replace him at half-time was for the good of the team.

"That doesn't mean I was correct, but I did what I thought was best," said Bielsa.

"But in no way does that mean that there's a difficulty with anyone. It's never good for a player or for a team to think that the positions are immovable and that the hierarchies that are within a team can't be altered ever.

"Apart from that it's not only bad for the player, who is untouchable, but it's bad for those (players) who want to alter the positions within a team."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton's draw with Leeds in the Premier League

Pundits Jamie Redknapp and Tim Sherwood suggested after Leeds' display at Brighton that all was not well between Bielsa and one of his star players.

Bielsa responded by saying Phillips had earned his status among Leeds fans and everyone at the club had a duty to preserve that relationship.

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Kalvin Phillips was taken off at half-time of Leeds' 0-0 draw with Brighton
Image: Phillips was taken off at half-time against Brighton on Saturday

"Kalvin Phillips is an idol for the Leeds United fans, he's popular with a lot of affection and we all have the obligation to look after the feeling that unites a fan with a team," Bielsa added.

"The fans suffer when they lose an idol. Kalvin is a player that's done a lot of things to deserve how the fans feel about him and what he has done has been sincere, it has not been conditioned.

"He opted to stay with Leeds when he could have left when we were in the Championship. He cleared up what his position was when asked about moving to the best teams in the Premier League, saying sincerely he wouldn't accept any offers.

"So what I'm saying is due to his performances and his position, with respect to his club Leeds, the position Kalvin occupies is completely deserved."

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