By David Woods

16th Dec, 2019 | 9:56am

Noel Whelan names Leeds 'kryptonite' that could 'cripple' promotion push this season

Noel Whelan has said that set pieces and long balls into the box are “kryptonite” for Leeds United and that sides are looking at it as a major weakness for Marcelo Bielsa’s men. 

Leeds threw away a three-goal lead at Elland Road on Saturday.

That looked unlikely with two-thirds of the game gone and Leeds in control.

However, Lee Tomlin got Cardiff’s first after 60 minutes and two late goals saw them complete the comeback to stun the Elland Road crowd.

Talking on BBC Radio Leeds Whelan said, “We said at half-time the only way back into this game is set pieces, and it happened.

“Three goals, pretty much, apart from the third, long ball down, not winning the header, straight in behind, Struijk cold, flat-footed, gets beaten to the ball for 3-3, it’s criminal.”

Whelan was asked if clubs would be looking at it as a weakness for Leeds.

“Well Cardiff would have looked at it. That’s the worrying part of it. Teams see it as our kryptonite that’s going to cripple us. And it does.

“I worry all the time when we get set-pieces against us. I just know we can’t defend them properly.

“It’s not just the first contact, it’s the second phase. We’re ball watching, people run off us.”

The analysis from Whelan is spot on. Leeds have struggled from set-pieces/long balls – and it seems to be the only real weakness in a defence that’s still the best by far in the Championship.

Leeds lost Pontus Jansson in the summer and he was the man who provided the strength and height at the back.

Ben White has been brilliant as his replacement but he doesn’t have the same presence in the box.

Kiko Casilla was to blame for the first Cardiff goal, flapping at a ball that he should never have been coming for.

However, the blame game only needs to go so far.

Casilla has won us a lot of points this season and keepers will always make the odd mistake. White has been brilliant and Leeds, as we said, have the best defence in the league.

It’s how Leeds deal with this disappointment that counts and Bielsa’s men have a great opportunity to put this behind them with a win against Fulham – on a run of three straight defeats – on Saturday.

In other Leeds United news, ‘Woeful’, ‘Cost us the game’ – Many Leeds fans blaming one player for shock 3-3 draw