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Jermaine Beckford hammers Leeds United defending and reveals what was badly missed

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Former Leeds United striker Jermaine Beckford says the lack of Liam Cooper’s leadership proved to be costly during Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat against Manchester City.

Defending from set-pieces has been a huge problem area for Leeds. It was an issue again against City and they have now conceded 18 goals from them this season. But Beckford says the absence of Cooper was a huge setback. Particularly for the first goal.

City took the lead on 13 minutes from a Phil Foden free-kick. Credit has to go to the young Englishman for the fantastic delivery. But the Leeds defence was all at sea and allowed Rodri to glance the ball home.

Speaking as a pundit for Optus Sports, Beckford was far from impressed with the defending. And he believes there could have been a different outcome with Cooper in the side.

The Leeds skipper picked up a knee injury in the warm-up. Boss Jesse Marsch confirmed after the game it was nothing serious. He should return next weekend, but was missed against City. Indeed Beckford was quick to highlight it in his post-match analysis.

“The marking you have to asks questions about it,” Beckford said. “Three players are holding the line but the rest are dropping deep. That is a huge lack of communication between everybody.

“I feel that if Liam Cooper was on the field he would have made sure everybody did the same thing. Whether that’s dropping deep or staying high.”

Beckford’s criticism of the defending did not stop there. While accepting the first goal was down to miscommunication, he believes there are too many individual errors also.

That was on show when Nathan Ake grabbed the second goal on 54 minutes. The defender was free to pounce after a Foden corner was nodded down by Ruben Dias.

Leeds United stats say it all

“It doesn’t make good reading it really doesn’t,” he said when the graphic showing Leeds have conceded most goals from set pieces this season popped up.

“There’s individual mistakes where one or two players aren’t doing what they should do defensively. Switching off for a split moment which is more than enough time for a forward to lose a defender and find themselves in a dangerous position like we saw with Nathan Ake.

“It is little things like that that need to be eradicated from Leeds United’s defensive capabilities to stand any chance of avoiding relegation.”

The defeat leaves Leeds in 17th spot on the table. They are five points above Everton but the Toffees do have two games in hand.

READ MORE: Marsch provides mixed news on two injuries with Dallas a major concern

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