David Prutton: Leeds United’s Samuel Saiz needs to leave nasty side behind him

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PIC: PA
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THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN was well within his rights to change the Leeds United team for Sunday’s FA Cup clash at Newport.

He was putting other players together to see what they could do.

If those players don’t perform then they are not necessarily replaced but they move back down the pecking order and the defeat re-affirms the fact that Leeds need more strength in depth.

There were all the clichés going into the game at Newport and sometimes the side that gets over the line is perhaps the one that just wants it a bit more and Newport found themselves in a position where they could take advantage of Leeds on that day.

If Leeds finish in the top six then the result will be completely forgotten about and the game will be viewed with a wry smile when you look back at it.

But now it’s about how Leeds react to it in tomorrow’s Championship clash at Ipswich, which is an extremely tough test to banish the memories of that game.

You can almost excuse a mistimed challenge or something but this was just a complete loss of control for which Saiz has quite rightly apologised. If he’s guilty and it’s been proven, then you have got to do that.

David Prutton

Regarding the Samuel Saiz spitting incident, I have had the experience of being banned for quite a long time way back when.

When you are quite obviously in the wrong you have got to try and get ahead of it and show humility and remorse and show an understanding of the consequences of what’s happened. It’s about how you deal with it. A six-game ban is a blow for Saiz, the players, the team, the club and the manager because Saiz has been a very good acquisition.

When you see someone spitting it immediately puts things into a different area as opposed to something like a tackle where someone breaks somebody’s leg.

All of these things are absolutely abhorrent but spitting seems to be top of the list where people think: ‘we are really not having that.’

You can almost excuse a mistimed challenge or something but this was just a complete loss of control for which Saiz has quite rightly apologised. If he’s guilty and it’s been proven, then you have got to do that. And now it will give Saiz time to reflect on what he wants from the rest of the season and also how he wants to walk away from being a player who is doing that.

All that has been compounded by the fact that Luke Ayling has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. He is going to be a big miss.

It’s not an overstatement to say that Luke has played himself into becoming one of Leeds’ most dependable, important and reliable players.

You have to wish Luke a speedy recovery but you can never rush these longer-term injuries.

Left-back Laurens De Bock then came in from Club Brugge yesterday and the new signing ticks a lot of boxes.

He has been called up to the Belgium national side before and we know how strong the Belgian squad is and what players they have got.

Leeds have paid a significant amount of money for him and if he has got European experience then it broadens perhaps the experience of Leeds’ squad.

Gaetano Berardi will now move over to right-back to take Luke’s place and that is another player that will need to make sure he manages his emotions during a football match.

The club have already lost Saiz for six matches and Ayling for a significant period of time and now everybody else has to show some real responsibility and maturity.

The players need to make sure that nobody else forces their way out of the team by doing anything daft.

And the new left-back that has come in has got to hit the ground running because Leeds are in a position where they are bringing in new personnel at a time of change with where people play.

Everybody has got to be ready to go as soon as they get picked and the proof will be in the pudding for this one.

There are still just under three weeks left until the January transfer window closes and there are obviously a lot of people wanting Leeds to sign a striker. And a club like Leeds that needs to get itself out of this division has always got to be on the look-out for somebody that can get you 15-plus goals a season.

It’s great that they have managed to spread some goals around but Saiz won’t be contributing towards that now for the next six matches.

Getting another striker has been something that has been of paramount importance since Chris Wood left the club in August and now they are in a position where they can redress it.

But who is out there for the right money in this transfer market? The really good ones are not for sale so the hidden gems are the ones where you have to try and scratch around and find them.