By George Overhill

1st Mar, 2023 | 6:40pm

Marc Roca and Jack Harrison singled out as BBC pundit blasts 'unforgivable' Leeds United problem after Fulham defeat

Marc Roca was in the firing line alongside Jack Harrison as former Leeds United defender Jon Newsome branded set piece failings “unforgivable” following defeat at Fulham.

The Whites were unfortunate to lose 2-0 in West London on Tuesday night to be knocked out of the FA Cup, in a game where they were arguably the better side but failed to make the most of their chances.

And in the wake of the defeat in Javi Gracia’s second game BBC pundit Newsome blasted the quality of set pieces at Leeds United as a recurring issue that has gone on for far too long.

Speaking after the game on BBC Radio Leeds [28 February, 25min] journalist Jonny Buchan said: “Dead ball deliveries were poor again tonight weren’t they at times? A couple of free kicks in particular.”

Newsome replied: “Yep, most definitely. They have been for a long, long time as well. I thought under Jesse [Marsch] our set pieces have been poor for a considerable amount of time.

“They’re a massive part of the game, we used to work on it a hell of a lot under Howard [Wilkinson] and you can win and lose games by how well you do on set pieces.

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“It’s unacceptable and it’s unforgivable really.

“You’ve got a dead ball situation and whoever the taker is you’re on it because you’re deemed to be good enough to hit a certain area with the shape of the ball more times than not, and it’s just not good enough.’

Buchan then added: “And it’s multiple players as well. It’s just as if it’s just Jack Harrison who’s been criticised for his corners.”

“Roca today, yep,” Newsome responded.


Given that the style of the Whites in open play under Marsch could best be described as ‘chaotic’ it would have been something to fall back on if set pieces were a weapon of sorts.

Failing to turn them to an advantage is a large part of the reason why a relegation battle is the order of the day for a second year in a row.

There are hardly a shortage of causes for that but making the most of opportunities, however they come, is somewhere near the top of the list.

Too often Leeds United have had the better of the play for 90 minutes and gone home empty-handed, as happened again at Craven Cottage.

But when it comes to free kicks and corners they are not even going to become opportunities in any real sense if the taker can’t find a teammate.

Harrison has been off the boil for months now but has maintained a run in the starting XI anyway, whereas Roca has largely lost his place to Weston McKennie in recent weeks.

A dangerous dead ball delivery from either would be a major plus point in their case for inclusion but if neither can provide it then there must be others among the multitude of attacking players who can do better.

In other Leeds United news, owner Andrea Radrizzani has dismissed “keyboard cowards” who criticise his running of the club.

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