Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan has questioned the current crop’s mental toughness, following their inability to see out games.

The Whites were thrashed 4-1 Huddersfield Town before the international break, despite Steve Evans’ team taking a 22nd minute lead through Stuart Dallas in the Yorkshire derby.

However, Leeds failed to protect their lead as the Terriers pumped in four at Elland Road, with three of those coming after the half-time break.

And Whelan thinks the current Leeds squad lack leaders, who would organise the team to ride out good spells of play from opponents.

“It’s the mental toughness that I question about a lot of the players when things aren’t going right and people aren’t playing well. How do you get something out of the game?” he wrote in his column in the Yorkshire Evening Post.


“At the moment I think we are a little bit soft mentally when it comes to seeing out games and riding a bad period of a game and going a goal behind.

“Against Huddersfield, we got off the hook with the penalty, it was a great save by Marco Silvestri and then we got the goal and that should have been it.

“But then we crept back to those old bad habits, not defending set-pieces properly, not creating chances, looking a little bit scruffy and not really having any game plan.

“That comes down to a mental toughness of a player within the team to control that; to tell the lads to get into position and just sit tight for a bit and just ride something out.

“I just don’t feel that we have got many people in there who can be that leader, who can arrange that on the field.”

Leeds, who headed into the Huddersfield game on the back of three consecutive Championship wins, currently find themselves 13th in the standings with 47 points from 37 games.

Evans’ team will next face Rotherham United in an away league game on Saturday; the Millers won the corresponding fixture 1-0 at Elland Road in November.