By George Overhill

13th May, 2023 | 8:10am

Leeds United 'major, major problem' cited by Martin O'Neill, Jim White feels it's 'too late now' ahead of Newcastle clash

Leeds United have been “shipping goals for fun” and not making up for it in attack according to Martin O’Neil, and both Simon Jordan and Jim White feel it might be too late to solve the issue.

The former Republic of Ireland boss believes Sam Allardyce’s primary objective as a late emergency option this season is to improve the defence, but with his second game coming against Newcastle (13 May) he has been given little chance of success.

The Whites haven’t won in six and sit 19th in the table, so in discussing the best method for turning things around Jordan landed on nothing short of a witch doctor in the dressing room as enough to get a result at Elland Road.

Speaking on talkSPORT with White and Jordan on Friday (12 May, 1m 45s) O’Neil said: “The one thing you’d think that Sam will try and bring into it is he’ll try and improve them defensively because they just ship goals for fun.

“And they’re not getting enough at the other end to compensate, so that’s a major, major problem for them.”

The former Celtic and Aston Villa manager said that ultimately it is “a change of mindset as much as anything” that is going to be key if Leeds are to have a change.

Jordan had a pretty negative outlook and doesn’t think any approach will work, saying (3m 45s): “I don’t feel that they’re going to get very much out of Newcastle, and it comes down to the West Ham and Tottenham games, and even then I’m not sure…

“It looks like Leeds can put out whatever they want. They can put out inherent belief, they can put fear, they can do whatever they want. They probably need a witch doctor in the dressing room.”

“It’s probably too late now,” agreed White.

Not quite

There is precious little time left but until it is mathematically impossible it is not too late, and Andrea Radrizzani wouldn’t have sacked yet another manager and brought in Big Sam to save the day if it was a lost cause.

Fans might reasonably suggest that those are the actions of someone who doesn’t yet realise that the fight was given up long ago, but there were signs of improvement against Manchester City in the second half a week ago.

Plenty of teams, including Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, and arguably now Everton, have looked dead and gone before staging unexpected revivals.

So 12 months after dragging themselves out of the mire on the final day the Leeds United players have to believe they can be the next to rise from the ashes.

Defence has been an Achilles heel throughout the past two seasons, and all hopes can’t be pinned on Max Wober in that department, but there is a reasonable amount of attacking firepower still left even with injuries.

Confidence to make use of it is likely what has been missing lately, as O’Neill suggested, so if Allardyce can lift the players’ spirits a reprieve is still possible for a short time yet.

In other Leeds United news, one club’s “Plan A” this summer is to sell a player to the Whites.