Leeds United handed pre-season humbling by Ajax as one final test awaits Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United continued Premier League preparations with a humbling 4-0 defeat at the hands of Dutch giants Ajax on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 10:35 pm
Leeds United winger Raphinha in action at the Johan Cruyff Arena against Ajax. Pic: Getty

The Whites travelled to Amsterdam for a friendly double-header and were well beaten in both outings in the Netherlands.

United finished off the flying trip at the Johan Cruyff Arena having seen a Whites XI beaten 3-1 at the De Toekomst training complex earlier in the day.

Marcelo Bielsa named a strong line-up against the reigning Eredivisie champions though Leeds were no match for their hosts on an evening of learning ahead of next week's highly-anticipated top flight kick-off at Manchester United.

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The night got underway in difficult fashion as stand-in skipper Luke Ayling was caught on the ball just outside his own box after two minutes.

Hosts forward Davy Klaassen pounced to open the scoring with stopper Illan Meslier left stranded.

It went from bad to worse for Bielsa's men before the half hour mark, Ajax putting together a slick move that resulted in centre-back Perr Schuurs chipping the ball into the back of the net after a one-two with Dusan Tadic.

Ryan Gravenberch added a third prior to the interval, wowing the 25,000-strong crowd - the biggest United's players have played in front of for nearly 18 months - thanks to a stunning 25-yard strike.

After the break Leeds offered some resistance amid a number of changes for both teams, Patrick Bamford hit the post while Stuart Dallas forced Remko Pasveer into a good save.

Robin Koch had earlier tested the goalkeeper's palms but it was again Ajax who had the final say as substitute Danilo struck to make the most of another loose pass at the back.

One more friendly test awaits Leeds in Europa League champions Villarreal on Saturday before the real action begins at Old Trafford.

Bielsa, though, was left to mull over his thoughts on another stern pre-season test for his squad on the flight home.

Ajax: Pasveer (GK), Schuurs (Timber 45’), Klaassen (Ekkelenkamp 60’), Gravenberch (Jensen 69’), Tadic (C) (Martha 69’), Mazraoui (Regeer 75’), Blind (Baas 61’), Martinez (Magallan 61’), Haller (Danilo 69’), Berghuis (Neres 45’), Taylor (Llansana 83’).

Subs not used: Gorter (GK), Raatsie (GK), Warmerdam.

Leeds United: Meslier (GK), Ayling (C), Koch, Bamford, Raphinha (Costa 45’), Dallas, Rodrigo (Roberts 68’), Struijk, Harrison, Klich (McCarron 68’), Shackleton (Jenkins 79’).

Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Summerville.