Growing issue at Leeds United now something Daniel Farke will want dealt with - Phil Hay
Slow starts from Leeds United are much less of an issue than the growing problem of conceding goals at corners, according to Phil Hay.
Speaking on The Square Ball on 27 October The Athletic journalist suggested that manager Daniel Farke will be becoming increasingly bothered by the recent trend of letting in headers from set pieces.
The Whites have conceded a goal from a corner in each of their past three games, with Stoke City’s midweek winner coming after Wesley’s near-post header rebounded onto Pascal Struijk off the bar and went in, after Norwich’s opener last weekend was glanced in by Shane Duffy, and Bristol City’s equaliser before the international break coming from the head of Kal Naismith.
Hay said of a perceived issue with slow starts (27m 40s): “It’s kind of there. I don’t think it’s there in a way where you can say it’s an absolutely chronic problem.
“I suspect what’s happening with corners will be starting to strike Farke as a bit of an issue and something that’s going to have to be dealt with.
“Put simply, I don’t think you can keep conceding to near-post headers over and over again.”
The last thing Leeds United want is for an apparently glaring weakness to have been uncovered for opponents to regularly target.
So after three games running where they have been found wanting in the air at corners, particularly at Illan Meslier’s front post, it is sure to be something Farke has the players working on in training.
On the whole the form remains good, with two of the three matches in question ending in Whites victories, but getting results will be that much harder of the side keeps shipping simple goals like that.
Meslier’s command of his area came under scrutiny amid criticism last season but he can’t really be blamed for near-post defenders failing to get their heads to balls that are fired in at a sharp angle.
And while the Leeds United attacking riches are fairly plentiful they won’t be able to overcome goals conceded in the way they have been, such as at Norwich in the 3-2 comeback win, over the past month.
Tightening up at the back is likely to be a priority ahead of the visit of Huddersfield in the early Saturday kick-off (28 October), to avoid the corner issue increasing to the point where panic sets in whenever a set-piece needs defending.
Farke had seen his side record four-straight clean sheets before the defeat at Southampton on 30 September, and while surely be looking to a return to that sort of streak again.
In other Leeds United news, Farke has been left with no choice but to drop a fan favourite for the next game.