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‘I wouldn’t be too concerned’ – Leeds United suffer pre-season setback: The Verdict

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Leeds United suffered a 4-0 defeat to historic rivals Manchester United yesterday in the opening game of their Australian tour.

The clash was the first meeting between the two sides in eight years and only the third since Leeds were relegated from the Premier League in 2004.

Marcelo Bielsa included a number of the Whites’ star players in his line up, with Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, Jack Harrison, Kemar Roofe, and Patrick Bamford all starting.

Manchester United academy products Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford both scored in the first half, while Phil Jones and Anthony Martial added a goal each after the break.

The Manchester club are not the footballing powerhouses they once were and Bielsa may have been hoping the game could provide his squad with a huge confidence boost ahead of the upcoming season but the Whites were well-beaten in Perth.

Our FLW writers assess whether Leeds should be concerned after their pre-season hammering at the hands of old rivals…

George Brooks

“I don’t think there’s anything Leeds fans should be worried about after this result.

“It’s important to remember that this was only a pre-season friendly and Manchester United had some top-class players in their team.

“The result doesn’t matter too much, the performance is the most important thing and it was another chance for the Leeds players to get some valuable minutes in ahead of the new season.

“It’s not as if Leeds didn’t create any chances in the game and there were still some encouraging performances from the likes of Harrison and Pablo Hernandez.

“There is still a couple of weeks to go until the start of the new season and there is still time for the Leeds players to work on their fitness ahead of the new campaign.

“I’m sure Bielsa will make sure that his players are all at their best ahead of their opening game against Bristol City, so there’s no need for Leeds fans to be concerned in my opinion.”

George Dagless

“A bit but not massively.

“It’s pre-season so you can never get too fussed by things unless real hammerings are handed out – this was a big score but they can happen.

“It’s early days yet and Leeds have games to rectify things – if this had happened the week before the season then alarm bells would have been going off.

“A few things need to be looked at, though. They looked tired early on and a lot of individual errors crept in – this wasn’t really a performance we’d come to expect from Bielsa’s men.

“They should be able to work up to that intensity in the coming weeks but the lack of it yesterday will be the most troublesome problem at the moment.”

Sam Rourke

“I wouldn’t be too concerned.

“As ever with pre-season, it’s not always a true reflection of how the season is going to pan out, and you have to realise who Leeds were playing against.

“Manchester United put out a very strong team, including the likes of Paul Pogba and Rashford and it was clear from the off that there was a clear gulf in quality.

“Bielsa didn’t utilise any of his new signings in the side, with them all back training at Thorp Arch, so again it arguably wasn’t a full-strength team on display for the Whites.

“Perhaps the only worry for Leeds was their lack of real, genuine goalscoring opportunities in the match, with Roofe drifting in and out of the game to not much effect – Bielsa will need him firing from the off to kickstart a promotion push.

“Whilst, Cooper looked shaky at the back of times and was guilty of making some rather rash tackles, you can’t help but ponder whether offloading Pontus Jansson could come back to bite the Whites.

“Leeds need to forget this game swiftly and focus on their remaining pre-season matches.”

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