Noel Whelan has told BBC Radio Leeds (broadcasted on September 28, 17:00) that he believes Leeds United miss former fan favourite Pontus Jansson for one specific reason – his aerial prowess when defending set-pieces.
Leeds conceded just after the half-hour mark against Charlton Athletic on Saturday afternoon, as Macauley Bonne scored the only goal of the game. It has not been the first set-piece Leeds have condeded this season.
Sweden international Jansson, who stands at a lofty 6ft 4in, is renowned for his dominance from set-pieces. Indeed, he proved as much in his 120 appearances for the Whites – and was even effective in the opposite box, scoring nine goals.
Following Saturday’s defeat, former Leeds star Whelan claimed that the Whites miss the commanding centre-back folllowing his £5.5million (Mirror) move to Brentford because of his presence in the air, and also compared it to Ben White.
“We’ve got to be so much better from set-pieces. We’re soft. It’s simple as that. I’ll give Jansson credit. The one thing he would do is clear the ball. He’d go and attack it,” Whelan said.
“I think we’ve got a better defender in Ben White but when it comes to being dominant in and around those areas from set-pieces, someone’s got to step up and get the first contact.”
TBR’s view – How can Leeds escape sticky patch?
Whelan is right, Leeds lack that big aerial presence that can deter sides who will look to beat Leeds by scoring from corners or free-kicks. But what Leeds can do, is finally convert chances into goals.
The Whites are becoming renowned for having multiple chances but failing to convert those chances into goals. Marcelo Bielsa may finally have to admit that Eddie Nketiah should start over Patrick Bamford.