By Craig Scott

14th Dec, 2021 | 10:10pm

Peter Crouch blasts 'awful' Stuart Dallas in Leeds United loss v Manchester City

Peter Crouch didn’t hold back when it came to criticising the Leeds United defence in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on Tuesday night.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men were torn to shreds in the first half with Stuart Dallas making a mess of what looked like a straightforward goal-line clearance when Phil Foden opened the scoring.

Illan Meslier, Luke Ayling and Tyler Roberts also played dreadful roles in Foden’s goal but it was Dallas’ inability to block the shot that drew big criticism from Crouch.

Speaking on BT Sport 1 at half-time, the ex-England striker said: “It was a disaster, you have to say.

“Man City, with the way they’ve pressed and played, they’ve been an absolute joy to watch.

“We’ll concentrate on City first and foremost with the goal and it was a tremendous finish from Foden. But look at the way [Leeds] have been dragged out here – it was just woeful.

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“Ayling here, he’s got to take everything out. The goalkeeper again has to be strong and more dominant.

“Phil Foden just gets over the ball and then they have another chance to clear with Dallas and it was an awful attempt.”

Ridiculously bad

There really are no excuses for this.

Leeds’ back-four of Junior Firpo, Diego Llorente, Ayling and Dallas shouldn’t have done as bad as it did against Man City.

They’re players who impressed in the Premier League last season or have played for massive clubs previously. But they looked like a non-league defensive unit at the Etihad.

Based on that, we’re a team that could be in serious trouble come the end of this season.

Injuries have decimated Bielsa’s squad. But the question has to be asked – why wasn’t more done in the summer transfer window?

Leeds agreed to pay £30million for Daniel James, who was substituted off for a teenager at half-time.

It was pointless signing him when that money could have been used to go towards back-up full-backs, one or two central midfielders or maybe even a proper striker.

We’re also getting worried about Meslier, who doesn’t look as good now there’s no experienced goalkeeper working beside him at Thorp Arch.

Bielsa and Victor Orta’s decisions in the summer need to come under more scrutiny.

In other Leeds United news, the Whites are on the verge of another crisis based on this update by BBC Sport.