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‘Alarm bells are going to be ringing about that defence’ – A closer look at Leeds United in wake of Man Utd defeat: Six Pointer

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It was a disappointing afternoon for Leeds United yesterday, with the Whites suffering a heavy defeat to Manchester United over in Australia.  

Leeds were beaten 4-0 by the Premier League side, with Marcelo Bielsa’s men never really getting through the gears against superior opposition.

Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial were on the scoresheet for Man United, with Leeds’ best chance probably falling to Patrick Bamford who saw his effort saved by Sergio Romero.

In this latest FLW Six Pointer, we dissect the action…

Firstly, talk us through what went wrong for Leeds?  

“It was a poor evening for the Whites, who would’ve expected to give a better account of themselves.

“Paul Pogba ran the game during the first 45 minutes, with goals from Greenwood and Rashford putting Man United in control. Jones and a Martial penalty in the second half put the icing on the cake.

“Leeds struggled defensively and the midfield couldn’t live with Manchester United’s physicality. However, the lack of cutting edge, not for the first time, was concerning.” 

So, it was a disappointing outing for the Whites?

“For the large part, yes. Leeds did play some good stuff in periods of the game, but when you lose 4-0 in a pre-season friendly against a side that made eleven changes at the break, you can’t take too much positive.

“Admittedly, Man United’s squad is a class above, but Leeds were amongst the Championship’s best last season and would’ve expected to make a little bit more of an impact in Perth.”

What were the major concerns for Bielsa?

“The midfield might’ve struggled up against Pogba, but it was the other ends of the field that will concern Bielsa.

“Bamford was guilty of missing a glorious chance at 1-0, which would’ve put Leeds right back in the game. Overall, he and Kemar Roofe drifted in and out of the game, which was disappointing.

“To be quite frank, alarm bells are going to be ringing about that defence. Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper really struggled and without Pontus Jansson around, you’ve got to believe Leeds need another body in the defence.

“Yes, Man United’s attack has some World Class talent, but Leeds’ defending was amateurish at times.”

Who impressed in a White shirt then?  

“Jack Harrison continued his strong start to pre-season with an assured performance on the left of midfield.

“He’s got fierce competition for a starting berth now following Helder Costa’s arrival, but he’s giving Bielsa something to think about and he could be key for Leeds in the coming season.

“Pablo Hernandez had some good touches, as expected, whilst Kalvin Phillips looked comfortable in possession.

“Mateusz Bogusz showed some good composure too stepping off the bench – for me, he’s going to be Bielsa’s wildcard this season.”

Were there any additional concerns, injuries or problems?

“The Whites were forced to release a statement this morning about a knock Adam Forshaw picked up, which came after a needless challenge from Ashley Young that I’m sure Leeds are furious about.

“Stuart Dallas also caught a stray arm from Martial, which drew blood, but there doesn’t seem to be much concern regarding his well being ahead of the next pre-season friendly.” 

Finally, what will Bielsa be keen to work on from here?  

“Finishing will be one thing the Argentine wants to work on. If Leeds are going to have any chance of promotion this season, Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe really need to get their shooting boots on.

“Additionally, Bielsa needs to have a look at Ben White alongside Liam Cooper in defence, as that looks like it will be his go-to centre-back partnership for the new season. That’s easier said than done with White back in Leeds and Cooper in Australia, but they need to be tested together before Bristol City on August 4th.

“Finally, and this probably won’t be the final time it is mentioned, Bielsa’s main work needs to come in the transfer window. Leeds are short of a striker, creative midfielder and centre-back in my eyes, and Bielsa needs to push Victor Orta and Andrea Radrizzani to address that.”

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