After seeing fellow Championship contenders West Brom slip to a 1-0 defeat away from home on Friday night, Leeds knew they had the perfect opportunity to capitalise on their rivals’ slip-up.
And boy did they do just that. The Whites ran out as comfortable 3-0 winners against Fulham at Elland Road, with the result taking them three points clear at the top of table and promotion to the Premier League well within their sights.
Whilst he may not have gotten on the score-sheet on Saturday afternoon, Pablo Hernandez delivered a vintage performance after coming on in the second half.
As per Sofascore, he had a 100% dribble success rate, provided one key pass, played a major role in the third goal and had 31 touches of the ball – the exact same as fellow midfielder Mateusz Klich who played 80 minutes of the clash.
And after seeing him help Leeds to a huge victory, fans flooded to Twitter to share their delight at the veteran Spaniard’s performance.
Pablo Hernandez is like a cheat code for the Championship. What a player. #LUFC
— Calum Archibald (@calumarchie) June 27, 2020
Pablo Hernandez is just different gravy man. Magic #lufc
— CWARDY (@c_wardy) June 27, 2020
Pablo….. soooooo good #LUFC
— Adam lufc (@slipadeus) June 27, 2020
Pablo Hernandez is the best player we’ve had since the Premier League. Full. Stop.
Deserves a statue. #LUFC
— Lew Jay (@lewjaymusic) June 27, 2020
Pablo is the star
What a player.#lufc
— Paul (@Psych_Squirrel) June 27, 2020
Pablo. 😍😍😍 Absolute genius. #lufc
— Danny J Parker (@DannyJParker87) June 27, 2020
pablo hernandez for me is the best player to every grace the championship👌👌👏👏#lufc
— Sim (@1simmo1) June 27, 2020
— Warren Shepherd (@Shepherd7Warren) June 27, 2020
A couple of fans talked up how important Hernandez is to the first-team, with one supporter in particular lauding how he “silenced” the Fulham midfield with his calmness in possession.
I know he’s in his advanced years, but you can’t put a price on what Pablo brings to that team 💦💦💦 #LUFC
— Tick Nwigg (@yorkstwigg) June 27, 2020
— Mat Thomas (@EmptyUK) June 27, 2020
One Leeds supporter urged the club to wrap Hernandez up in cotton wool in order to preserve him for the upcoming games, and it’s no doubt something Bielsa himself looked to do – the Whites boss having brought him on then took off for the final few minutes of the clash against Fulham.
Wrap him up in cotton wool that Pablo Hernandez – well played sir 👏👏👏 #lufc
— Philippa Vereker (@PhilippaVereker) June 27, 2020
It’s no surprise that a few Leeds fans are keen to see Hernandez fully fit and firing for the rest of the campaign, and recognise that at 35, is probably not the most ready for games coming thick and fast.
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Against Fulham, his cameo showed everyone just why he remains an important part of Bielsa’s squad, and after missing the defeat to Cardiff last week, returned to action with aplomb.
If Leeds are to clinch automatic promotion this season, Hernandez staying fit will be key.