By Azeem Siddiqui

13th May, 2022 | 9:48pm

Paul Merson makes major relegation prediction between Leeds United and Burnley

Former England midfielder Paul Merson has backed Leeds United to avoid a drop into the Championship at the expense of Burnley.

The Whites are involved in an intense relegation battle and are currently placed in the 18th position with just two matchdays to go.

In a column for Daily Star, the 54-year-old admitted that he did not see Leeds coming to this position, but still believes that the club will have a chance to secure unlikely survival for another season.

“Leeds have self-destructed and they are playing their own cup final this weekend against Brighton,” wrote Merson. “I didn’t see this Leeds collapse coming. I didn’t. They are completely and utterly in panic mode.

“But they’ve got two games that are winnable and if they beat Brighton or get a point I think they stay up – because I don’t see Burnley winning another game.

“They just have to stay composed because there’s too much madness at the moment. I don’t like to use the word brainless, I prefer composure. But there are people who panic under pressure and there are people who don’t, and these players are self-destructing.

“They have got to pull themselves together because they need to stay in the Premier League and it’s getting harder and harder.”

Words of optimism

Those words will give Leeds-faithful some hope going into the business end of the campaign where they are placed in the relegation zone, joint on points with 17th-placed Burnley but with an inferior goal difference.

Therefore, the next match against Brighton & Hove Albion at home becomes ever so crucial as the Whites will be playing their final match away from home against Brentford.

The coaching staff will be hoping that the players will be able to deliver the goods on Sunday to register a crucial three points.

Looking at the recent record against the Seagulls, it does not give Leeds much hope as they’ve not managed to win a single match out of the last three, losing two in the process and drawing one.

Their previous win against Sunday’s opposition came during the days of the Championship in 2017, when the Whites registered a 2-0 triumph while playing at home, courtesy of goals from now Newcastle United forward Chris Wood.

In other Leeds United news, the club appear to be preparing for life in the Championship with the Spanish striker they are chasing.