Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Dean Windass revealed that he has a minor concern with the Leeds squad – citing that Marcelo Bielsa was perhaps getting lucky with his defensive quartet.
Leeds have been a breath of fresh of air to the Premier League this season and have provided some mesmeric free-flowing football.
Their 5-0 win over West Brom during the festive period was a fine example but they have also been on the end of some thrashings. They shipped six goals at Old Trafford when they took on Manchester United and over the course of the Premier League campaign, have conceded 33 goals, the second-worst tally in the division.
Of course, a big part of that has been the injuries suffered to various centre-backs. Liam Cooper, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente are all currently absent from the squad and thus, Bielsa is having to field a rather different mix of defenders in his back four.
However, two parts have remained close to ever-present. That happens to be their full-backs Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas.
Though, this appeared to be a bit of a concern for Windass who told FFC that their minimal defensive duties were an issue and that because the Whites were doing well, Bielsa was getting away with things.
He said: “I think it’s just the cards he’s been dealt and he’s thinking that he’s got a right back in there at the back and he slips into centre-half because Liam Cooper was injured so he’s not really got a left-back to slot in and he’s not really got a right back.”
Windass continued: “Because they play on the counter-attack with the pace he trusts the two centre-halves to take care of the lone striker and obviously, with Phillips sitting in there as an insurance policy, he’ll tell his full-backs to push on because they will do, they’re wingers, they’re not a left-back and right back. So they’ll say ‘when we’ve got the ball we go forward but obviously, when we lose it we’ll drop back in as a four’.”
The pundit concluded: “Well, that’s why they concede so many goals because they’re not natural defenders. If you asked me to be a centre-half, I couldn’t do it. I could do it, but I’d concede goals. It’s putting square pegs in round holes, but because they’re doing so well, he’s getting away with it. That’s the thing. He’s getting away with it.”
It will be interesting to see whether Bielsa perseveres with the duo at full-back once he has a full accompaniment of defenders available again.