Sam Allardyce 'at a loss' to solve Leeds United issue for Tottenham clash - Chris Sutton
Sam Allardyce appears to have run out of ideas for how to solve the problems with the Leeds United defence ahead of the final day clash with Tottenham, says Chris Sutton.
The Whites’ fourth manager of the season looked to have tightened things up as they avoided conceding heavily against high-flying Manchester City and Newcastle sides, but then the initiative in the relegation battle was thrown away with a limp 3-1 defeat at West Ham last weekend (21 May).
He takes Leeds United into his fourth and likely final game needing help from elsewhere to pull of a miraculous escape from relegation, but Sutton believes he won’t even be able to hold up his end of the bargain at Elland Road because of issues at the back.
In the Daily Mail Sutton said: “Even Big Sam has looked at a loss over how to shore up Leeds at the back. I don’t see them winning this one against a Spurs side who have blown hot and cold all season.”
If Allardyce can’t fix the defence then he will join Javi Gracia, Jesse Marsch and Marcelo Bielsa in being undone by a back line that virtually never has a collective good game.
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At times over the past two seasons one, or possibly two, players have stood out as capable defenders at a time, but have usually been fighting losing battles when their teammates have catastrophic outings at the same time.
Max Wober looked like the answer when he arrived in January but the Austrian has gone off the boil himself, and when centre-back Robin Koch is in midfield, right-back Rasmus Kristensen is in the middle of the back line, and centre-back Pascal Struijk is on the left, as was the case at the London Stadium it tells its own story.
The Dane has struggled on the right but recently looked better in the middle, while club captain Liam Cooper has come in and out of the side due to injuries and been up and down himself.
To some Koch is the jewel in the crown at the back, but the German has contributed to his fair share of hammerings alongside the likes of Cooper and Diego Llorente.
Junior Firpo’s brief renaissance after Marsch was sacked didn’t last long, and his performance against Newcastle may have ended his Whites career.
So in that context it would be the exception that proves the rule if the defence suddenly put in a performance together on the final day, although it might be too late by then.
But with Harry Kane coming to Elland Road it would be a major surprise, so if Leeds United are going to have a hope of staying up the pressure is surely on the attacking options.
In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent doesn’t think Spurs even want to win the game on the final day.