By George Overhill

2nd Oct, 2023 | 7:40pm

Leeds United defeat at Southampton put down to 'genius' Russell Martin move which left BBC pundit in awe

Leeds United were “hurt” by a “stroke of genius” by Russell Martin to start Carlos Alcaraz in attack for Southampton, according to Carlton Palmer.

The BBC pundit told Football League World on 2 October that the move was “inspired” as it helped the home side record a surprise 3-1 win over the previously-flourishing Whites.

Martin had been facing the questions over his job at St. Mary’s while Daniel Farke’s Leeds were coming off the back of an excellent 3-0 win over Watford, but the form guide was turned on its head on Saturday (30 September).

Palmer said: “Russell Martin made an inspired move playing Alcaraz, restoring him to the team as a number-nine against Leeds.

“Martin explained in the press-conference after the game that Alcaraz trained really well last week and he felt he had to accommodate him in the side somehow.

“It was a stroke of genius, knowing that Alcaraz is an intelligent footballer, knowing that he’s an attacking player and deploying him further up the park as a centre-forward.

“Defensively, he’s not that strong, but he didn’t expose them. It allows him to play to his strengths and get into positions to hurt the opposition higher up the pitch.

“It’s exactly what he did and it was a very good call by the Southampton manager to get them back to winning ways.”

Caught cold

Martin needed to do something to lift his side out of their slump and clearly he did it, but Farke will be cursing the fact that his own players didn’t heed his warning.

The German had suggested prior to the game that, despite the recent fortunes of either side, it might actually be the “worst” time to face the Saints.

So it proved as he showed faith in the changed line-up that had delivered so strongly against the Hornets a week earlier and they failed to repay him by going 3-0 before half-time.

Farke is sure to revert back to his strongest available side for the visit of QPR on Wednesday night (4 October) as he seeks to nip the set-back in the bud.

One poor result is always on the cards in the Championship no matter how well a side is doing so doesn’t need to derail all the progress that had been made.

But more dropped points over the next week would be a bigger issue so getting straight back on the horse at Elland Road would avoid further doubts creeping in.

In other Leeds United news, Farke has revealed that one player has no role in his squad and will not play.