Gary Neville and Martin Tyler identify worrying Leeds United 'Achilles' heel' under Marcelo Bielsa
The defensive deficiencies of Leeds United are their “Achilles’ heel” under Marcelo Bielsa according to Gary Neville and Martin Tyler.
The Whites conceded four in defeat to Manchester United at Elland Road which undermined their stirring fight back to draw level at 2-2 early in the second half, and condemned them to a third defeat in four matches.
Two goals inside a minute from Rodrigo and Raphinha had ignited the home crowd and looked to have provided a platform from which to search for a winner, but instead Fred and Anthony Elanga were able to add to Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes’ first-half strikes to give the points to the visitors.
As the seconds ticked down to full time with defeat confirmed Sky Sports commentator Tyler said live: “It’s their Achilles’ heel. They’re built to attack but the backdoor is often ajar, and at times wide open. Fifty goals conceded in the Premier League.”
Former Red Devil Neville added: “They played really well this second half, but they are a mess defensively. They take too many chances, they leave too many spaces.
“He’s shouting and balling on the side of the pitch, Bielsa, but the pattern is there week in week out.
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“This is not abnormal for them, conceding threes and fours.”
The pick of the Sunday games provided a fantastic spectacle for the neutral but not so much for Whites supporters.
It was a game which showcased the best and the worst of their side, as they conceded various types of goals despite some exciting attacking play that at one point had the visitors reeling.
Although they are a popular side for their attractive attacking play, Bielsa’s Leeds team have a reputation for shipping goals in bunches if they get the balance slightly off.
When the Whites were newcomers back to the Premier League last season and mixing things up in mid-table it was easy to live and die by that philosophy.
But with relegation becoming an increasingly real concern it is harder to accept the defensive issues.
Injuries have played a major part this season, but pressure has mounted on the manager of late after defeat to the two teams below his side in the table, Everton and Newcastle.
With games against Liverpool and a suddenly buoyant Tottenham next up things are currently looking bleak.
Fans will point to a red card that Scott McTominay avoided as an example of the fine margins that the club have been on the wrong side of this year.
Survival this season and the chance to get fit and regroup are the priorities, but assuming Bielsa stays, there may need to be an adjustment on his part to address this problem.
In other Leeds United news, Chris Sutton was outraged at the treatment of a Whites player after a concerning first-half incident.