Three things Leeds United must learn from 5-1 Manchester United loss

Leeds United have improved since their hammering against Manchester United earlier in the season, but there are still key lessons to learn from.

Saturday, 19th February 2022, 12:00 pm

Leeds United are preparing for a clash with old rivals Manchester United this weekend, and they will be looking to avoid a repeat of the hammering they suffered at Old Trafford.

The Whites were on the wrong end of a thrashing at Old Trafford all the way back in August, losing 5-1 after conceding four second-half goals.

A lot has changed since then, but Leeds continue to struggle at the back, and after three straight defeats, there will be concern heading into this weekend, even facing a United side that has struggled in recent weeks and months.

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But while plenty has changed since that opening day meeting, we can still learn a lot from it.

And as Marcelo Bielsa looks back on the footage to see what can be improved this time around, we have put together three of the key areas we think need tweaking to avoid another hammering.

Take a look below:

Pacey wingers

One of the main lessons Leeds must learn from the Man United defeat is how to deal with pacey wingers.

The Whites were burned time and again at Old Trafford with through balls to wingers, with Stuart Dallas and Luke Ayling struggling to keep up.

That was particularly true of Ayling, who was exploited by Mason Greenwood drifting to Man United’s left.

Greenwood is no longer an issue, but Leeds will need to deal with those wide balls better.

Deeper line

This is linked to the previous point, but Leeds had a disastrously high line at Old Trafford, and it proved their downfall.

For four of the five goals, Leeds were caught too high at the back, and good passes from midfield sent pacey players in behind, either directly or indirectly leading to goals.

That’s something that has to be corrected, despite Man Utd looking less dangerous generally.

We know Bielsa likes to be bold, but a deep line might be sensible here given some of the talent on the red side of the ball.

Clogging the midfield

Bielsa has used differing systems over recent weeks, including a back three against Everton.

He should prefer one that floods the midfield here if evidence at Old Trafford is anything to go by.

Man United destroyed Leeds by getting the ball into a central point and playing through balls into the final third.

Allowing the Reds to get onto the ball in those central, midfield areas allowed them to pick Leeds’ defence apart with just one good pass.

Bielsa has to protect his already leaky back-line and that starts in midfield.

Bruno Fernandes can’t be given another opportunity to score a hat-trick here.