YEP Jury: A Sobering afternoon for a Leeds United team missing key personnel

Our panel of fans do not pull any punches in their assessment of Leeds United’s 5-1 defeat at Manchester United.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 8:21 am
Leeds United fans get behind their side at Old Trafford. Picture: Tony Johnson.

DAVID WATKINS

First things first, much as I hate to admit it, this Man U team is not half bad and it looked well prepared.

Their finishing was top drawer with five great goals from only eight shots on target and 16 attempts in total. Those are great stats.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds United's Jack Harrison is outnumbered by the Manchester United defence. Picture: Tony Johnson.

First half we gave as good as we got and were unlucky to go in one down. Then, watching ‘Bill’ steam through and unleash that missile, the away end was in raptures.

Sadly, that was the highlight of the afternoon as we were then shown some top quality with Pogba the provider and Fernandes more often than not the finisher; two top-class performers of a quality we can only dream about for now.

Starting without Kalvin Philips was always likely to leave us exposed, especially without Llorente in there and then bringing on Costa and Roberts while they threw on Matic, Martial and Sancho… well, I think it says everything about where we are on the journey. No need to panic but we need Kalvin and Llorente back quickly and we need Junior Firpo to become a star in that left-back berth.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

Raphinha holds off Manchester United's Luke Shaw. Picture: Tony Johnson.

KEITH INGHAM

Leeds were thoroughly hammered in their first game at Old Trafford.

Man United dominated the first period and Bruno Fernandes deservedly put them in front, his effort bouncing off Ilan Meslier’s leg and into the net.

Leeds were second best all over the field and the gaps they left in midfield could have been driven through by a heavy goods wagon … sideways!

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa shows his frustration on the sidelines. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Leeds had some hope within five minutes of the restart, Luke Ayling smashing a shot that beat David De Gea all ends up.

The hosts responded with three goals in eight minutes, Mason Greenwood and Fernandes with his second to take the game out of Leeds’ reach. Fernandes grabbed his third to complete his hat-trick and even Fred managed to get on the scoresheet.

It’s very hard to take anything out of this game. The defence looked weak, midfield non-existent and Patrick Bamford had nothing to work with. Disappointing run outs then from nearly all in white and how Kalvin Phillips was missed as Man U overran the middle of the park.

It just wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory but it might give Marcelo Bielsa and Andrea Radrizzani a few nightmares!

Without doubt this squad, on that showing need an addition or two – or we might be in for a long, long hard season.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

ANDY RHODES

A defeat here was predicated by some members of the Jury but not quite on this scale. The game was nothing like the opening match of last season but did echo our last game at Old Trafford.

Although Leeds stayed in the game for considerably longer than they did last season, this result was just as hard to take.

From early on, Man United were all over Leeds, pressing them high and getting into dangerous positions.

Leeds were often unable to get out but, when they did, they quickly got into the opposition’s box, but the quality was clearly lacking.

It almost looked like reinforcements were needed.

The absence of Kalvin Phillips clearly didn’t help, Leeds definitely missed his authority in the centre of the pitch.

But this was just game one of 37. Marcelo Bielsa probably won’t but Leeds need to draw a line under this result and go again.

At Elland Road next Saturday, Leeds will benefit from a raucous atmosphere.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

MIKE GILL

This was a sobering start to the season for United who fell apart in the second half, killing all hopes of an improvement on last season’s performance at Old Trafford.

The first half started predictably enough with the Whites goal often under siege from a lively Man Utd attack but Leeds stood firm.

The breakthrough came when Bruno Fernandes scored the first goal of his hat-trick on the half hour. Both Rodrigo and Patrick Bamford were having quiet games as they suffered from a lack of midfield service.

In an effort to address this, Rodrigo was replaced by Dallas in the second half and his place taken by Junior Firpo.

Luke Ayling stepped up and shot a rasping 25-yarder on 48 minutes, sending the Leeds fans wild.

Within 12 minutes, the game was effectively over as Greenwood and Fernandes (2) took Leeds to the cleaners. Fred added another to rub the salt into the wound. Not the sort of performance we expect from a Bielsa side. Let’s hope they can pick themselves up for the Everton match.

Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.

JACOB STARR

11 goals conceded in two away outings at Old Trafford makes for grim reading, with the 5-1 defeat this time around somehow giving a feeling of more embarrassment. Oh, how I have missed the beautiful game…

This wasn’t supposed to happen, but it was easy to see why it did due to the combination of the occasion and absence of Kalvin Phillips.

Robin Koch is a great player, but playing out of position against world-class opposition in front of 70 odd thousand fans was possibly not the best call by El Loco. I am fully aware it is the first game of the season, but evidently more bodies are needed in the transfer window, particularly in midfield which seemed non-existent. Like a knife through butter.

A hat-trick from Bruno Fernandes along with goals from Mason Greenwood and Fred will overshadow the pick of the goals from Luke Ayling.

The poor lad hasn’t struck a ball that sweetly since Huddersfield at home, and despite it bringing the scores level, won’t mean anything other than perhaps a goal of the month nomination.

One to forget. And may even go down as our worst performance since returning to the top flight.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click HERE to subscribe.