Leeds United lost in the Championship last night, going down 2-0 at high-flying Fulham.
The result at Craven Cottage was more than fair as Fulham dominated much of the game with the Yorkshire outfit struggling to contain their attacking philosophy.
But once again Leeds fans were left astounded by the team’s inability to defend set-pieces. It has been a concern for the club all season and again the problem reared its head last night.
Before Fulham’s first goal Aleksandar Mitrovic had a free run at a header from a corner. On that occasion, Bailey Peacock-Farrell kept him at bay. Not long after it happened again. This time the Serbian’s effort deflected off Kevin McDonald and into the Leeds net.
As reported by LUFC Data on Twitter, the set-piece statistics for Leeds are simply damning:
Leeds have now conceded a whopping 42% of their goals originating from dead-ball situations (including throw-ins) across all competitions this season (27/64).
— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) April 3, 2018
However, if any team in the Championship should not have this issue, it is Leeds. In November they actually appointed a set-piece specialist.
Former Fiorentina, AC Milan and Brentford man Gianni Vio arrived in October. Whilst better regarded as an attacking set-piece specialist he has also been working with the club defensively – as reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Well, Leeds are still not exactly thriving from attacking set-pieces whilst defensively they have been woeful.
Much of it is down to their rather deep zonal marking system, which twice allowed Mitrovic to have a free run and jump at a header for Fulham. Personnel does not help either. For instance, with Kyle Bartley organising at the back Leeds always looked solid defensively last season. The same cannot be said about the current campaign.
Leeds’ inability to cause damage from set-pieces is only made worse by their woeful defending against them. Fans on Twitter are asking one thing, what exactly is Vio doing at Thorp Arch on a daily basis…
The chairman must be questioned for his two managerial appointments to date. Along with his director of football appointment and set piece specialist. He’s not involved in football matters. What else does he have to do apart from choose the right people to work under him?#LUFC
— Leeds Fan (@LeedsFanz) April 4, 2018
So a massive % of goals conceded have been from set pieces yet we have a specialist set piece coach. Sums it up #lufc
— Andy Mc (@Clocky001) April 3, 2018
The problem is – it’s okay for the owner to talk about underperforming players but ALL non-playing staff should be treated with the same cautiousness. A set piece coach that can’t defend set pieces, for example. #lufc
— AllWhiteStrip (@AllWhiteStripLU) April 3, 2018
Hey @andrearadri Don Revie didn’t need anyone to tell him which players he should sign. Howard Wilkinson didn’t need a ‘set piece specialist’ to organise a defence. So how about investing in, and backing, a proven manager and, to paraphrase Wilko, “Let them get to work.” #lufc
— Anthony Derbyshire (@antsd1970) April 3, 2018
We need a set piece specialist to ride in on a stallion to fix everything.
— LUFC (@drlufc) April 3, 2018
When you struggle so much defending corners and set pieces surely you’d have a man on the posts? It’s a bit like an insurance policy? #lufc
— Chris Dickson (@ChrisDickson22) April 3, 2018
— Steve Johnson (@saj1964) April 3, 2018
If Vio gets paid to coach set-pieces can I have his job. I have no qualifications and no experience but I could at least say go man for man with players on the posts. Which would be an improvement. #lufc #MOT
— Mighty Whites Pod (@mightywhitespod) April 3, 2018
We are of course the only club in world football to hire a specialist set piece coach and then subsequently become worse at them #lufc
— Dan McCarthy (@DMcCarthyRadio) April 3, 2018
Well I am really glad we have a specialist set piece coach….makes such a difference! ? #LUFC
— Phil Dixon (@ELPHILIACHI) April 3, 2018
This set piece coach has worked wonders ? #lufc
— Josh Townend (@Josh_T95) April 3, 2018
— Danny (@dsw1986) April 3, 2018
Does our set piece coach do anything. We cannot defend and never score at the other end #lufc
— Mark (@melleyf1) April 3, 2018
Unreal that we actually employ a bloke whose sole job is “set piece coach” #lufc
— richlufc’70 (@Garforthrich) April 3, 2018
Can anyone give me 1 single reason as to why / how the set piece specialist coach at #lufc still has a job?
— hinsliff (@hinsliff) April 3, 2018