Leeds are missing a host of key players, including Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, Rodrigo and Patrick Bamford, while Bielsa’s preference for a small squad has left his resources stretched and youngsters being called upon.

 

The Whites have conceded 14 goals in their last three games, scoring three times in reply, and Merson thinks that Bielsa cannot continue with his usual style and approach when key men are missing.

 

 

“Leeds have been absolutely shredded in the absence of some key players, but the manager has to change things around”, Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column.

 

“He has got to accept that, without those players around, the team has to stay solid, get men behind the ball, and make it hard for the opposition to score.

 

 

“I mean, Arsenal were missing sitters at Elland Road and there was barely five minutes on the clock. That tells you all you need to know”, he added.

 

Recent heavy defeats have pushed Newcastle to a goal difference of minus 18, a total only better than Norwich City (minus 26) and Newcastle United (minus 23).

 

 

Bielsa led Leeds to a top half finish in the Premier League last term, but now the Whites may be shaping up for a relegation scrap.