By Graeme Hanna

29th Apr, 2023 | 4:10pm

Jeff Stelling questions Leeds United fans as they turn on Javi Gracia live on Sky Sports

Jeff Stelling has questioned a section of Leeds United supporters for directing their anger at Javi Gracia, prompting a strong reaction from Paul Merson, live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday.

The former England international gave a detailed critique of why the Whites are in their current predicament, slamming the style of play that has remained the same under the leadership of Gracia.

Leeds are sitting just above the relegation zone, in 16th place on 30 points as they strive to retain their Premier League status.

Speaking live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday (Saturday, 29 April, 12:30), Stelling questioned the criticism toward the Spanish coach.

“If you look at the teams that are in there, Leeds,” he said.

“Some of the fans are already turning on Javi Gracia, do you understand that?”

“Yes, I can,” replied Merson. “When you’re losing six and five at home, then you’re 1-0 up against Leicester.

“When Bielsa came in, they played a certain way and they played gung-ho, 100mph, every manager that has come in has played exactly the same way, no one has changed it, it’s just 100mph.

“Everyone runs here and there, if you come in and turn the TV on and Leeds are live and the scores not in the corner, you wouldn’t have a clue what the score was, whether they were winning 3-0 or losing 3-0, it’s exactly the same.”

No other option

At this stage, Gracia is helpless to impact the immediate future of Leeds United.

Given the limitations of the current squad at Elland Road and the lack of progress so far under the former Watford head coach, he is not suddenly going to mastermind an unlikely turnaround over the last few weeks of the campaign.

With five games remaining, Leeds can stay up but as much as they look decent in attack, they are capable of imploding at any point.

Look at the game against Leicester as the latest example. In the second half, they quickly changed from being in control with a one-goal advantage to being fortunate to escape with a point.

There is a lack of control and leadership on the pitch and no game management at all, that all comes down to what is happening on the training pitch.

The fans and Merson are justified to be critical of Gracia as well as the overall direction at the club since the departure of Marcelo Bielsa.

In other Leeds news, the Whites and Brighton are said to be locked in a battle to sign player that Pep Guardiola called ‘Unbelievable’.