Leeds United

Leeds United: Phil Hay concerned over Firpo’s defensive ability

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Speaking on The Phil Hay Show, The Athletic’s highlighted that Junior Firpo has been relatively poor defensively.

Over the summer, Marcelo Bielsa knew he needed a new left-back, with Ezgjan Alioski departing following the expiration of his contract, and that saw United bring in the former Barcelona full-back for around £13.5m (as per Transfermarkt).

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It’s been a rocky start to life at Elland Road for Firpo, as he’s yet to pick up a clean sheet, assist or goal and it’s the former stat that is the biggest worry, especially given how poor have been in general at the back – something that’s not gone unnoticed.

Having previously expressed his concern over Firpo’s defensive weaknesses in a recent episode, Hay spoke about the worries he has for Firpo.

“I think regardless of who you are, because of the way Bielsa works and because of how intense it is – and you know how rigid he is about his tactics – it’s not that easy to feel your way in.

“I’ve felt with Firpo so far, that going forward, I can see good aspects in his game. Defensively, I don’t think it’s been there, really. Look, I don’t think the problem with this team so far is that Firpo hasn’t been particularly good defensively at left-back. I think it’s definitely been a bit of a weakness – and that was where the equaliser came from again on Saturday.”

TIF Thoughts on Firpo…

Having arrived for relatively big money (he’s in the top 10 for most expensive Leeds signings) and from a huge club like Barcelona, there may have been bigger expectations on Firpo than if they brought him in from a smaller club, and although Hay has praised the defender when going forward, not many can forget his glaring miss against Newcastle United which would’ve put 2-1 up just on the stroke of half time.

However, even if Firpo has been poor in his own defensive third, Leeds don’t have a ready-made replacement to step in for for the 25-year-old, which should give him more time to learn and adapt to Bielsa’s tactics and demands.

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