If Jesse Marsch was hoping his Elland Road debut would kick-start things for Leeds United, then he was given a rude awakening.
The Whites slumped to a hugely disappointing 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Thursday night, leaving them in a precarious situation in the Premier League, and placing even more importance on Sunday’s crunch clash against fellow relegation battlers Norwich.
While it was a disastrous team performance, Junior Firpo’s display at left-back left a lot to be desired – especially with owner Andrea Radrizzani watching on.
As per Sofascore, he lost seven of his 12 duels on the night, was dribbled past three times (the second-most of any Leeds player) and lost possession 18 times. Only Raphinha and Jack Harrison, the club’s two attacking wide men, lost the ball more often.
It has become a theme of Firpo’s virtually non-existent defending that he appears to switch off when it comes to runners in and around him, and it was on show yet again against Villa.
The Villans’ second of the game – a fine finish from Matty Cash – saw the right-back ghost in at the back post before turning Firpo inside out far too easily to fire home at the near post.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for Leeds Live, Beren Cross gave him a measly three, saying: “Returning to the dark early days of his Leeds career when he failed to deliver anything that resembled a defender’s performance.
“Matty Cash’s goal should never have been allowed to open up the way it did, but Firpo’s charge down could not have been more easily anticipated by the right-back.”
The onlooking Radrizzani would certainly not have been impressed with one of his club’s marquee summer signings last night, especially when you consider that it was reported the Whites really pushed for the Brazilian’s transfer from Barcelona.
Firpo’s late exit through injury simply added to the left-back’s frustrating night, and he certainly has a whole lot of improvement to make if he is to become less of a liability for the team.