Gary Neville shares Pascal Struijk verdict as Leeds United lose at Aston Villa
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Gary Neville shares Pascal Struijk verdict as Leeds United lose at Aston Villa

Leeds United defender Pascal Struijk has been criticised by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville for his display against Aston Villa.

Jesse Marsch’s charges fell to a 2-1 defeat to Unai Emery’s charges in the West Midlands on Friday night.

Leeds conceded the opener after just three minutes, courtesy of a lightning-quick Villa counter-attack.

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The Whites had won a corner, and it looked dangerous too.

However, Ashley Young and Boubacar Kamara worked together to quickly get the ball from one end to the other.

Kamara got to the edge of the Leeds box and fed Leon Bailey on the right for a neat effort into the top corner.

Struijk stood off the Villa man too much and allowed him to cut in for the shot.

Leeds then conceded a second just after the hour mark, despite looking better after the break.

Bailey saw his strike parried by Illan Meslier, and Emiliano Buendia was there to head home on the rebound.

Neville, who was on commentating duties, gave his verdict on the second goal, and singled Struijk out for criticism.

“Ashley Young made an incredible challenge at one end to stop Tyler Adams scoring,” he said on Sky Sports, via BBC Sport’s live commentary feed (13/1/23, 21:32).

“Leeds have struggled to contain Leon Bailey all night, he’s been the one.

“Pascal Struijk has struggled defensively all evening.

“You might ask if Illan Meslier could push it away but it has a lot of power behind it.

“Leeds have been the better team but Villa have doubled their lead.”

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Gnonto great but Struijk struggles as Leeds remain in trouble

The Elland Road outfit did get a goal back through Patrick Bamford, but it proved a consolation in the end.

The only real positive for Leeds on the night came from Wilfried Gnonto, who delivered a dazzling display for his side.

As for Struijk, he sadly appears bereft of confidence at present.

Leeds Live gave him a mere 3 out of 10 for his efforts on the night.

‘Errors at Cardiff City fed into low confidence at Villa Park where Bailey routinely exposed him as a centre-back playing out of position,’ they wrote.

‘Max Wober would be a strong bet to start next week.’

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