Augustin - happy with fitness levels? How close to the first team?
I have to give you a long answer.
Augustin is a player with a lot of impact. He has a lot of skills, resources. You can realise about that for how much he goes, how much he was sold and bought for and the teams he played for.
But Kevin, in the last eight months played three full matches.
So when one player in this period plays just three full matches the conclusion about his fitness levels is clear.
If you see one time like Wigan for example, they sold his two best players. One to Milan and after the number ten. Why do you think that’s happened and they are fighting for relegation?
Why do you think that?
Because of the economic fair play, that demands you don’t take a risk.
So you know perfectly that Leeds cannot buy a player even if Leeds would like to buy a player. So do you think that one player with the background of Augustin can arrive to our club if he is not in the situation where he is now. Because a player of his level, with his background, his skills, his characteristics, if he was playing, he’s a player that costs £30-40m. You know that? Everyone knows that.
So if he arrives here without paying this money, it’s because he has to resolve one problem that is that he wasn’t playing. Players, they have skills, resources but put those resources and skills onto the pitch in one official match, it’s not the same that you have the skill and after put it in the pitch.
So what it’s related to with his fitness performance is very important. And also the luck. Ryan Edmondson, he played 20 matches in the U23s. What I saw was never enough to be considered for me. Even though we watch every match and we try to help him progress. In the last training he had a great performance. And in this problem he had an injury in his knee.
So you have the development, the player grows and after you have the luck factor. And also you have loyalty or not in the engagement. BEcause Nketiah arrived here because Leeds was the ideal place to grow, because it was me who was going to coach him. I know who I am and I don’t believe those messages. Everything around the transfer of Eddie was a lie, Nketiah came to play. In any way. He didn’t play and he left.
But even worse, because I in two situations, I put Bamfordon the bench and in two months he was with us, he wasn’t able to play. Players do preseason. One player in six months plays two matches, thinks he will arrive to one club and play is underestimating what Leeds is as a club, a team and an institution.
Clarke, the last match he played in the U23s, I sent him a message congratulating him because after four months of work he was again the player he was when he started playing for us. The next day he left Leeds.
Baker, we six months working with him, when we found his best level, he left the club. Leeds is one institution, one club and I try to manage every situation and be humble.
But if you think that one player will come here and will play just without reason, it’s not like that.
The players who arrive here are going to play if they are better than the players that are playing.
I am very confident in Augustin’s qualities and skills. I think he’s a player with great, great skills. But in football and even more on one league like the Championship that is maybe the fifth or sixth best in the world, you’re not going to arrive and play without being at the ideal level.
I know his characteristics as manager, I know perfectly that I’m not a big manager. But I know some stuff differently.
For instance, if we have training in the week and a player plays well or players very wll in an U23s match, this doesn’t mean that he’s going to play in the first-team and have impact. But what I saw a few times is the opposite. One player that has no impact in training or an U23s match, plays in a first-team game and has an impact. There is a perception that a player with five years experience in the CHampionship will play well.
Like you don’t analyse the matches of the U23s because every week, I receive a message about why Edmondson is not playing. I am the first one who wants Edmondson playing here. When he got injured last week, I didn’t know he had the injury in the knee. So I started to shout at him, saying continue playing because you’re doing a great training. You are doing in 20 minutes what we expect from you in 18 months. After that I decided he had a problem.
So all the comments and expectations about the players who arrive, the first I have to say, being humble to play in our first team as a starter, the player has to be close to his best level, linking the skills and resources.
If Augustin gets to play in 70% of his skills, it is going to be enough for him to play here. But if he can just use 50% of his skills, it’s not going to be enough. He competes with Bamford and Roberts. It’s very easy to criticise Bamford for missing chances. He’s scored 12 times and he has ups and downs.
But underestimate one player like Bamford and look for solutions in any way is not the best. I know perfectly which is the physical level of Augustin, I can talk to you for 15 minutes about his physical qualities, about each quality, and I also know the physical performance you must have to show your level on the pitch. The skills you have as a player transform after a good performance if you are physically and mentally prepared.
So think that one player who plays three matches in eight months, that is not absolutely what is football. And about how we judge the work of those people that bring players to the club. Tell us how could we bring one great number nine without money, because of the fair play. So it’s easy to say why Augustin is not playing. BEcause Bamford needs three chances. You have to analyse every situation, Baker, Nketiah, Clarke, why they left the club.
I interpret Leeds with humility but think that this is the club that one player can arrive and just play and show himself, because you have a lot of information or you should have this information so it shoulnd’t be necessary to take 20 minutes to explain this.
Do you think the explanation is right?
<I wasn't saying he should play, I was asking for your assessment of his condition?>
I cannot be innocent to answer this question. YOu have information to answer your own questions. If one player plays three times in eight months, he can be healthy with a good physical performance and even though he needs to play football, but even though he is going to need to have more football level because in the last eight months he played three times.
If I ignore the explanation I am giving you and after I give minutes to Augstin to play and he’s not being able to take advantage, respecting just his name and what all the fans are demanding, if I do that, it’s not going to be a good thing for the team, for the future and for the player himself. The supporters also claimed for Nketiah. I think that Nketiah is going to be one of the best English players. He was a starter twice, moving one player like Bamford, a great player and a day later he decides to leave the club. Again, the agreement we did with Arsenal, because players don’t go to another club just to play. They go to try to compete ith another teammate to play. Because if you are going to be a player of a top level club and you cannot deserve one place in one team that is supposed to have a player of less level, so you have to find a club that tells you you don’t have to play whatever happens. THe manager who says this lies to him. I’m talking about Nketiah, Great player, great pro, great human.
Because this situation that we are experience training Augustin to be at a good level is a mistake in the calculations but we have to adapt to this situation because people didn’t respect the agreement that we respected a lot.