ASSISTANT coach Diego Flores acknowledged a difference in quality after Leeds United were brushed aside 4-0 by rivals Manchester United in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly in Australia.
Leeds have taken a squad of just 16 players on their pre-season tour Down Under with some of the club’s summer signings and those involved in recent internationals staying behind for fitness work at Thorp Arch.
Marquee summer signing forward Helder Costa, Polish international Mateusz Klich, Brighton loanee centre-back Ben White and right back Luke Ayling all remain at Thorp Arch along with England under-20s ace Jamie Shackleton, Tottenham’s Whites loanee Jack Clarke, Wales forward Tyler Roberts, Macedonian international Gjanni Alioski and Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa also initially stayed at Thorp Arch to work with those left behind with the Argentinian flying out to Australia on Tuesday, three days after the selected tour squad jetted out Down Under.
The Whites lined up for Wednesday’s friendly in Perth against the Red Devils with just five inexperienced substitutes and fell to a 4-0 defeat after first-half strikes from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were followed by second half goals for Phil Jones and Antony Martial who netted from the penalty spot.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Premier League outfit fielded nearly a full strength side minus the unwell David De Gea plus injured or unfit Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Luke Shaw and Lee Grant but the Red Devils had 13 substitutes with Solskjaer changing his entire starting XI at the half-time break.
Bielsa skipped post-match media duties to conduct his post-match analysis but Flores admitted there was no arguing with the result.
“I think it was a difficult match,” said Flores.
“There is a difference in quality in the players. They play better than us. We tried to do it.
“Maybe we had some moments that we could score but I think in the end they were superior to us.”
Flores also confirmed that contrary to reports, Bielsa would not be immediately flying back to Thorp Arch after the Red Devils clash and would instead stay in Australia for United’s second friendly as part of their tour this Saturday against Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney.
Stuart Dallas is now a doubt for that clash after suffering a facial injury and concussion against the Red Devils.
Northern Ireland international Dallas was caught by Anthony Martial’s arm during the second half of the 4-0 defeat with Dallas left with blood pouring down his face from a cut above his eye.
After receiving treatment on the sidelines, the 28-year-old was eventually substituted for youngster Bryce Hosannah - and Flores confirmed that Dallas was concussed making him a big doubt for Saturday’s clash in Sydney.