Leeds United are being drawn into the relegation battle, mounting pressure on manager Marcelo Bielsa.

The Whites enjoyed a top-half finish in their return to the Premier League last season but have struggled this term.

Leeds have managed one point from their past six league games, conceding 20 goals in their past five.

TOP STORY – BIELSA EXITS STRUGGLING LEEDS

The Sun claims Marcelo Bielsa has quit as Leeds United manager with ex-RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch set to replace him.

Bielsa resigned after Leeds were hammered 4-0 by Tottenham on Saturday, having conceded 14 goals in their past three league games.

The Argentinean's exit from Elland Road is being thrashed out between lawyers, with Fabrizio Romano claiming that Marsch – who left Leipzig in December and previously managed Salzburg and New York Red Bulls – is the favourite to take over.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have slapped a £50million price tag on goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who is wanted by Newcastle United, reports the Daily Star. The Blues signed Kepa in 2018 as the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

Manchester United are lining up two young talents according to the Mirror. The Red Devils are set to table bids for PSV's Cody Gakpo and Sporting CP's Joao Palhinha.

Liverpool target Darwin Nunez is interested in joining the Reds according to Football Insider. The 22-year-old Uruguay international is currently with Benfica.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona are ahead of Bayern Munich in the race to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen.

It was another frustrating day for Manchester United against Watford on Saturday, while their rivals – and next opponents – Manchester City left it late at Everton.

Watford were, of course, the team that inflicted the defeat that cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job at United in November, and Ralf Rangnick will have been similarly frustrated, even if he is safe in the knowledge that he will not be getting the sack.

The same cannot be said for Marcelo Bielsa, however, who looks destined to see his stay at Leeds United brought to an end after a crushing defeat to Tottenham.

Following Saturday's Premier League action, Stats Perform delves into the key Opta facts from some of the day's games.

Manchester United 0-0 Watford: Red Devils revert to type

Man Utd's 4-2 win at Leeds United last week was a little more tense than Ralf Rangnick would have liked, at least for a while, but it was also a rare example of them getting a big goals haul.

It seemed to say more about Leeds than it did United, however, as Rangnick saw his side struggle in front of goal once again despite dominating visitors Watford.

 

Chances weren't an issue: they had 22 shots, but only three were on target. Their opportunities amounted to 2.7 expected goals (xG), just no actual goals.

That was the highest xG accumulated by any side who failed to score in a Premier League game this term, and the biggest negative differential between goals and xG recorded in 2021-22.

It was the fifth time United have failed to score in 14 Premier League home games this season, their worst record since 2013-14 (six).

Up next? The Manchester derby.

 

Everton 0-1 Manchester City: Champions breathe sigh of relief as Toffees' points tally makes grim viewing

Phil Foden rescued City at Goodison Park on Saturday, scoring eight minutes from time to seal a 1-0 win over Everton.

That goal ensured Liverpool can only cut the gap behind City to three points if they win their game in hand, with Pep Guardiola undoubtedly relieved.

He surely always had faith, however, as Guardiola had won each of his previous nine games against Everton – this victory took him to 10 on the bounce, making it his joint-longest winning run against a single opponent in his managerial career.

Everton's outlook is rather bleaker.

Defeat leaves them with just 22 points from 24 Premier League games this term. It is their lowest tally at this stage of a league campaign (if we assume three points have been awarded throughout history) since 1929-30 (also 22), when they were relegated from the top tier.

Frank Lampard's men certainly showed enough spirit at times in this game to suggest their fate will not be the same, but their nine points since the start of October is the fewest of every team in the Premier League.

Leeds United 0-4 Tottenham: Defensive woes leave Bielsa on the brink

It would seem Marcelo Bielsa could well be on his way out at Leeds after another grim defeat, this time at the hands of Spurs.

This loss took Leeds to 20 goal concessions in February, which is the most any Premier League team has ever let in during a single calendar month and worst since any top-flight side since April 1986 (Newcastle United – 21).

As such, they became only the second side in Premier League history to three or more goals in five successive games – four of those have been defeats, making it their worst such run in the top tier since December 2003-February 2004.

For Spurs it was a welcome change of pace after losing to Burnley in midweek, a defeat that led to an emotional outburst from Antonio Conte that made it seem the Italian's days at the club were numbered.

A major highlight for them saw Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combine for the 37th time in the Premier League, overtaking Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the duo with most goal combinations in the competition's history.

 

Brentford 0-2 Newcastle United: Bees' woes continue but Eriksen return puts struggles into perspective

The form of Brentford and Newcastle could not be much more different.

Brentford are now winless in eight Premier League games, seven of which have been defeats – Newcastle are unbeaten in seven, their best such run since 2011 (14 games).

Josh Dasilva's red card certainly did not help matters for the home side, with his 11th-minute dismissal the second-earliest in a Premier League game this term after Newcastle's Ciaran Clark (ninth minute against Norwich City in November).

But the match did give all fans and neutrals a reason to smile as Christian Eriksen made his return to the football pitch.

The playmaker suffered a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020, and he came on in the second half for his first competitive appearance since his medical emergency.

It was also marked his return to the Premier League, having last appeared in the competition 766 days earlier for Tottenham.

Antonio Conte believes he saw signs of Tottenham looking like one of his teams for the first time as they beat Leeds United 4-0 on Saturday.

Spurs cruised at Elland Road, racing into a 2-0 lead through Matt Doherty and Dejan Kulusevski inside 15 minutes before Harry Kane got their third before the half-hour mark as Leeds looked beaten even prior to the break.

Kane then set up Son Heung-min to complete the scoring late on, Spurs' star duo combining for the 37th time in the Premier League as they set a new record.

It was undoubtedly a timely boost for Spurs, given their midweek defeat to Burnley was followed by an emotional outburst from Conte that had many thinking his days at the club were numbered.

Yet his post-match comments on Saturday were a far cry from that.

"For the first time I have seen my mark, about this system," Conte told reporters. "The creation from one wing-back and the other wing-back scoring – it means that the work is starting to work. It was a good performance for us against a strong team that is not simple to play against.

"We played a really good game, good football. What I wanted to see today was the right spirit, the right character to fight and win the ball and duels, against a team that are masters in this situation.

"I asked this of my players. I wanted an answer not only in football aspects but also in these aspects, which are very important in my opinion.

"Usually, my teams are not only strong on the pitch but mentally in their desire and spirit. The opponent that plays us has to know this. We are also working on this aspect.

"I asked for this answer, especially after the Burnley defeat. We lost that game because the opponents had more desire."

It is not the first time Conte has lauded his Spurs team, though. The Italian was highly complimentary after last weekend's win at Manchester City, yet that was followed by the shock loss at struggling Burnley.

As such, Conte is demanding consistency rather than showing spirit on an "episodic" basis.

"Sometimes I use soft words, sometimes with strong words, but only with one target: to improve," he continued.

"We need to improve in many aspects. Today I have seen a great desire to fight in every zone. This needs to be the start, not just episodic.

"My words were very clear. I repeat, I am a coach that for me it's not enough to play the game and to enjoy the game, to come back in England and enjoy to play in the best league in the world.

"I want to create something important, to fight, to win. I want this. My words were very clear."

Marcelo Bielsa insisted he remains the right man at Leeds United after watching his side slump to a 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham on Saturday.

Harry Kane inspired the visitors to a comfortable victory at Elland Road as Leeds suffered a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat for the first time since a run of six in 2003-04.

Their latest loss came after a 6-0 thrashing by Liverpool on Wednesday and a 4-2 home defeat to Manchester United last Sunday. Indeed, Leeds have conceded 20 league goals in February, which is the most by a top-flight team in a calendar month since Newcastle United conceded 21 times in April 1986.

Leeds are in real danger of being dragged into the relegation zone if results do not improve, and there are reports that the club are seriously considering replacing Bielsa with former RB Leipzig boss Jesse Marsch.

However, when asked if he were confident he can keep Leeds up this season, Bielsa told BBC Sport: "I always have confidence in what I can do."

Bielsa did accept his side were outplayed by Spurs and acknowledged the importance of sharpening up a defence that has conceded 60 times already this season. The only time in Premier League history they have let in more in a single 38-game campaign was when they were relegated in 2003-04.

"It was a fair defeat," the Argentine said. "The difference should have been smaller, however – not so much due to how we played but because of the goals we could have scored.

"The feeling of dominance over the game was for Tottenham. We know clearly how [Antonio] Conte's Tottenham play and obviously, what we tried to do, you can perceive it.

"The way they played was not surprising for us and we tried to overcome them but we couldn't manage to take the ball off them in the build-up, nor could we neutralise the influence of their forwards. We couldn't manage to put them at risk when they built up the play and they managed to find their forwards.

"We need to defend better. We need to make the opponents feel more worried when they have the ball and to try and manage to be able to attack without defending poorly and defend without it preventing us from attacking.

"We would get back and defend quickly after attacking and then attack quickly after defending but we have lost that virtue.

"Evidently there are factors that had a positive influence before but are not having the same impact."

Tottenham responded to their setback at Burnley with a comfortable 4-0 win over struggling Leeds United on Saturday.

Spurs boss Antonio Conte had called his own future into question after they slipped to a fourth defeat in five Premier League games at Turf Moor, and his players produced the response he would have wanted at Elland Road.

Goals from Matt Doherty, Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane effectively settled the contest within the first 30 minutes as the visitors breathed new life into their Champions League aspirations.

Kane teed up Son Heung-min for Tottenham's fourth as they combined to make Premier League history, leaving Leeds, who have now lost three consecutive home games in the top flight for the first time since November 2003, in no doubt that they are in a relegation battle. 

After Pascal Struijk glanced a good chance wide, Tottenham took early control of the game and broke the deadlock after nine minutes, Doherty providing a fine side-foot finish to Ryan Sessegnon's low cross.

The home fans, quietened by that early blow, fell eerily silent just six minutes later after Kulusevski bustled his way into the box from the right and drilled a shot past Illan Meslier at the near post.

Robin Koch hit the base of the post as Leeds sought a way back into the contest, but they were 3-0 down before the half-hour mark, Kane expertly turning home Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's simple ball over the top, with Meslier rooted to his line.

Marcelo Bielsa made two changes at half-time, but it did little to disrupt Spurs' control. Kane slid in Doherty for a second goal but Meslier saved well, before Son's follow-up was blocked by Koch.

Leeds' one clear chance of the second half summed up their recent fortunes: after Hugo Lloris made a mess of sweeping up a long ball, Stuart Dallas strode towards the unguarded net but dithered for too long and saw his shot closed down by Ben Davies.

Emerson Royal should have scored from a Kane throughball, but Son made no mistake with five minutes remaining as he latched onto Kane's long pass and fired beyond Meslier.

It was the 37th time those two have combined for a goal in the Premier League, overtaking the record held by Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.

What does it mean? Spurs ease tensions around Conte

Conte apologised for his outburst after the Burnley loss but admitted he had expected Spurs to be "more ready to fight and to win" when he arrived.

They certainly shrugged off a difficult few days in impressive style here, killing the contest within half an hour for just their second league win in six.

Spurs are now four points outside the top four with a game in hand, while Leeds could be dragged into the bottom three depending on Saturday's other results.

Wing-back wizardry

Conte's 3-4-3 system caused persistent problems for Leeds, particularly through the runs of Doherty and Sessegnon.

They combined for the opening goal and set up a further three chances between them, Doherty also assisting Kulusevski with a one-two.

Llorente led a merry dance

Diego Llorente endured a dreadful outing in which he managed to make life easier for Spurs' attackers.

After stepping over the ball when it seemed he would stop Kulusevski cutting in and scoring, he played Kane onside for the third goal and fell in the move that saw Sessegnon come within inches of adding a fourth.

What's next?

Spurs are in FA Cup action at Middlesbrough on Tuesday before their next league game at Everton on March 7. Leeds have a week to prepare for a trip to Leicester City.

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte says when he took over at Spurs in November he expected to find a club "more ready to fight and to win".

Conte's side are eighth in the Premier League but have lost four of their past five league games to slip seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

The Italian was emotional post-game following Tottenham's midweek 1-0 defeat to lowly Burnley, with the honeymoon period of his first few months long gone.

"Maybe in my heart, mind and head I thought to find a situation, not better, but [a club] more ready to fight and to win," Conte told reporters ahead of Saturday's league game with Leeds United.

"And instead now I found a situation where we have to work. To work a lot, much more than was my expectation to do, but I am not scared about the work as in my life only through work have I reached important level in my career.

"When I arrived here I did not ask anything. But at the same time I know that if I arrive here and they know that you are taking an important coach, not a medium coach."

Conte had earlier apologised for his emotional outburst following the Burnley defeat and backtracked on comments that hinted his future at Spurs was uncertain.

The former Inter and Chelsea boss met with chairman Daniel Levy and insisted they're on the "same page" but Conte also offered no guarantees that he would still be at Spurs by the end of the season.

"We are starting to build something important for the club," Conte said. "This is the most important thing. I always say, when I arrive in a place, when I have to go away from this club, I have to leave this club much better than I found it. I have done this with every club I have worked at.

"For sure, it will be the same for this club. If you ask me in four months, one year, two years, three years. Now it is very difficult to [offer guarantees]. But for sure, I am working to improve the club in every aspect.

"In this moment, I repeat, I am totally committed to Tottenham and I have a good relationship with the club, especially with Daniel."

Antonio Conte has apologised for his emotional outburst following the defeat to Burnley that left his Tottenham future looking uncertain.

Spurs were beaten 1-0 by Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday, their fourth defeat in five league matches.

Conte, who replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in November, was unbeaten in his first nine top-flight matches in charge of Spurs, but that honeymoon period was followed by a frustrating few weeks.

In the wake of the loss to lowly Burnley, Conte suggested Spurs were exhibiting relegation form, that the club needed to make an "assessment about me" and that he was unsure if he was good enough to improve Spurs' fortunes.

But speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, Conte appeared to back-track, his comments seemingly just made in the spur of the moment.

"For sure, when I lose a game I am not the person to go and have a dinner. I think that I am not the right person, when I lose a game my mood is very bad and I prefer to stay alone and live the defeat, to stay alone and metabolise the defeat," he said.

"I need one day to recover, at least. This is me. It is me. I don't like to lose. If you ask me what I hate in life, it is to lose games. My mentality is to prepare myself, to prepare the players and to avoid this type of situation.

"There are many coaches that don't suffer [after a defeat]. I wanted to be a little soft but at the same time to be this way makes me a person that in his career I won as a player and then as a coach.

"For sure, when I lose, if you expect that I am happy or to come to a press conference and laugh, I am not this person.

"I am sorry if I show my disappointment because maybe it would be good to keep this inside and not show my emotion. I am an honest person it is difficult for me to lie or hide the truth and for this reason."

Conte also confirmed that he has since spoken to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, and it would seem both men are on the same page.

"Yes, I spoke to Daniel Levy. Our chairman knows very well that I'm here to help the club in every moment. I will do that until the end," Conte continued.

"That's the reality and he knows that we're working hard. He has great consideration about our job and the job of my staff.

"I repeat I want to help the club with every aspect. He shows me great consideration every day and for this reason I'm committed for this club much more because I know the consideration for me is very high.

"The club confirmed to me that they know the reality. The club is very happy about my work and what we're doing with my staff, the change that we made in four months in the environment.

"I think the club is appreciating very much what we're doing in this moment. The problem is that I'm a perfectionist. I'm a person that wants to get to a result quickly."

Spurs head into the weekend in eighth, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played two games more.

But bitter rivals Arsenal may well be the club they need to focus on catching, given they are just a point behind United and also have two games in hand on Ralf Rangnick's men – Conte, however, stressed the need to concentrate on the immediate future.

"I'm a realistic person and for now the most important thing is the present and not look forward too much," he said.

"We have to finish this season. We are working very hard and we deserve much more. The players at the club, especially our fans, deserve the best and for us to make them happy.

"It's important to be focused now. We're working well and we've started to go in the right direction despite negative or positive results. Also for the future, there is more clarification. To clean the situation and then to continue to build."

Sure, relying on Mohamed Salah every week is a decent fantasy football strategy, it's certainly good enough for most, but what happens when the Egyptian magician isn't in Premier League action?

With Liverpool in EFL Cup final duty against Chelsea, the Reds' fearsome front-line and creative full-backs are suddenly off limits to fantasy football managers across the land, while Arsenal and Chelsea are also out of league action.

However, courtesy of Opta-powered data, Stats Perform has managed to pick out some of gameweek 27's potential stars, featuring the England captain, an in-form Burnley new boy, and one of the Premier League's most lethal defenders.

HARRY KANE (Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur)

Despite Antonio Conte's team lurching to a fourth loss in five Premier League games at Turf Moor in midweek, the England captain remains the perfect pick for managers who need a big-hitter in Salah's absence.

Kane has been involved in seven goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances, registering six goals and an assist in that time. Meanwhile, five of those contributions, including four goals, have come on the road.

If that isn't enough to make managers' minds up, Kane will be facing a Leeds team which has already shipped 56 league goals this term, and has scored 10 goals in his eight Premier League appearances in Yorkshire. 

DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United v Watford)

For those looking for an adequate replacement for the likes of Allison or Edouard Mendy between the sticks, Red Devils stopper De Gea looks to be the perfect choice, ahead of a kind home fixture with Watford.

When looking at Opta's Expected Goals on Target data, no Premier League goalkeeper has prevented more goals than the Spaniard this season, with De Gea conceding 32 Premier League goals from 39.09 xG on target faced.

Although De Gea did ship four times when Watford ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils reign earlier this season, United have never lost a home league game against Watford, recording 11 wins and two draws against the Hornets at Old Trafford. They have not faced any other side in more home games during their league history without losing (also 13 unbeaten vs Hull City).

CRAIG DAWSON (West Ham United v Wolves)

The best fantasy football managers are those that find themselves looking for marginal gains, and what better way to do that than to pick one of the division's most lethal defenders?

Since the 2014-15 season, no Premier League defender can match Dawson's tally of 14 headed goals, and the big centre-back has now netted in successive games, against Leicester City and Newcastle United.

West Ham's next Premier League clash sees them take on Wolves at the London Stadium. For all their good form, the visitors are averaging under a goal per game this season, so Dawson could also be in with a chance of a clean sheet.

WOUT WEGHORST (Crystal Palace v Burnley, Burnley v Leicester City)

Finally, Burnley's towering Dutch striker Wout Weghorst stands out as an appealing under-the-radar selection, ahead of the Clarets facing two games in four days.

Since Weghorst made his move from Wolfsburg to Turf Moor, he has weighed in with a goal and two assists, meaning only Salah (three goals and one assist) has registered more goal involvements amongst Premier League players since his arrival.

Although Burnley's weekend opponents Crystal Palace have been buoyed by a 4-1 win over Watford, they then host a Leicester team which has conceded 40.61 expected goals this season, a tally worse than all but three Premier League teams, so another Weghorst contribution could be on the cards.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk hailed Joel Matip after both men found the net in a 6-0 thrashing of Leeds United, saying he wishes he had his defensive partner's technical ability.

Between two Mohamed Salah penalties, Matip strode forward to open his account for the season with a superb goal, while Van Dijk later completed the scoring after Sadio Mane had struck twice against the strugglers.

The dominant victory moved Jurgen Klopp's men to within three points of the Premier League summit, while Van Dijk and Matip contributed to Liverpool's 14th Premier League clean sheet of the campaign – only leaders Manchester City (15) have more.

However, it was Matip's dribbling ability that came in for praise from his partner, after the German defender's fantastic goal.

"It [dribbling out from the back] is a big quality of his," Van Dijk told the club's website after the win. "I wish I had that quality at times.

"He just can go without any fear at all and hope for the best a little bit.

"But he has that quality. It's a big strength of his and obviously it's useful because it drags other players from their position. Today, obviously, the space was there to make that run and finish it off. 

"I said to him before the game I felt it coming because he had an assist for Diogo [Jota, in a recent 2-0 win over Leicester] and I said, 'A goal is next!'

"So I'm obviously very happy for him."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted his side will have to win virtually all of their Premier League games to stand a chance of winning the title after a 6-0 hammering of Leeds United.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane both hit doubles against Marcelo Bielsa's strugglers, while central defenders Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk joined them on the scoreboard as the Reds moved to within three points of leaders Manchester City. 

The gap between the Premier League's top two is now at its shortest since Christmas Day, when it also stood at three points, while Liverpool are unbeaten in 26 home matches in all competitions.

However, speaking to the BBC after the win, Klopp was keen to stress that the Reds will have to be near-perfect in order to push City close, and shifted his attention to Sunday's EFL Cup final against Chelsea.

"We have 10 days until we play the next league game, and we have two games in between, in completely different competitions," the head coach said.

"One is a final [against Chelsea] and the other a last 16 [the FA Cup fifth-round clash with Norwich City]. They will be different games, and we have to be ready for them.

"It [the gap] is three points until the weekend, and then City will probably win, and it will be six points. 

"If we win all our games, pretty much, there will be a chance for us.

"For people outside [of the club], it is better to have a three or six-point gap than to have a 20 or 30-point gap, so it is more exciting, but we have to win a lot of games against difficult opponents, and that will be a tricky task. 

"We will give it a try."

Mohamed Salah scored two penalties as Liverpool closed to within three points of Premier League leaders Manchester City with a 6-0 hammering of Leeds United at Anfield.

Salah netted either side of Joel Matip's superb strike to give Jurgen Klopp's team a comfortable advantage, before Sadio Mane added a late double of his own and Virgil van Dijk completed the scoring.

The stunning victory gives Liverpool renewed hope of catching Pep Guardiola's league leaders, who lost at home to Tottenham on Saturday and must still welcome the Reds to the Etihad Stadium.

City could have expected few favours from Leeds, however, with Marcelo Bielsa's men firmly in a relegation scrap with the league's most porous defence.

After a high-octane opening, Liverpool were awarded a 13th-minute spot-kick when Stuart Dallas handled a cross, allowing Salah to fire into the bottom corner.

Raphinha saw a tap-in ruled out for offside as Leeds looked to respond, but they found themselves two down after half an hour when Matip surged forward from the back, playing a one-two with Salah before thumping home his first goal of the campaign.

Rampant Liverpool earned a second penalty moments later, when Luke Ayling brought down Mane. Salah elected to smash the ball into the top corner this time, scoring two penalties in a single game at home to Leeds for a second season running.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has conceded injured forwards Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino will not be fit for the Premier League clash with Leeds United, and that both face a race against time to make Sunday's EFL Cup final against Chelsea.

Jota, whose tally of 12 league goals for the season is bettered only by Mohamed Salah among Liverpool players, suffered a knock in last week's Champions League win at Inter, while Firmino reported discomfort after the same fixture.

Both forwards sat out the Reds' 3-1 Premier League win over Norwich, with fellow attackers Salah, Sadio Mane, and Luis Diaz all finding the net.

Ahead of a week in which Liverpool can close the gap to Manchester City in the Premier League to just three points, before looking to lift their first domestic cup since 2012, Klopp was not hopeful about the pair's prospects.

"For tomorrow [Wednesday, against Leeds], no chance, and then [for] the final we will see", Klopp said. "It would be easy to say 'no' now, but we will see. 

"They are [pushing], but they were not on the training pitch [yet] so that's not a good sign. 

"We have to see what we can do with the boys in the next few days, and then make a decision later in the week."

Liverpool, who have only failed to score in one of their last 23 meetings with Leeds in all competitions, netting in each of their last 16 in a row since a goalless draw in April 1999, will go within three points of City if they beat the Whites at Anfield, but Klopp was keen to highlight Leeds' strengths before the contest.

"We saw all the faces of Leeds United on Sunday [in their 4-2 defeat to Manchester United]," he added.

"They are very brave and very exciting. Offensively, they go with everything they have. Defensively, you can cause them problems, but that is difficult as well, because of their man-marking all over the pitch.

"If you are not really up for the game, they will eat you."

There has been a fresh call for temporary concussion substitutes from England's Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) after Leeds United were criticised for allowing Robin Koch back on to the pitch after sustaining a head injury.

Koch collided with Scott McTominay during the first half of Leeds' 4-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, with the German requiring lengthy treatment.

The blow to the defender's head led to blood pouring down onto his face and requiring a significant amount of bandaging.

He was initially brought back on to the pitch but was then withdrawn 15 minutes later after sitting down on the pitch looking groggy, subsequently requiring support as he was guided off the field.

The Premier League introduced a trial of additional permanent concussion substitutions (APCS) in February last year, with regulations stating that "if there are clear symptoms of concussion, or the video provides clear evidence of concussion, the team will be permitted to apply to replace the player with an additional permanent concussion substitution."

Leeds did not use an APCS, and the fact Koch was later taken off looking unwell led to the club being widely criticised in the media and on social media.

The PFA believes the incident proves APCS – the trial of which was extended into this season – are not working and should be replaced with temporary substitutions to decrease the pressure on those involved to make quick, and potentially risky, decisions.

"The injury to Leeds United's Robin Koch demonstrates again that the current concussion protocols within football are failing to prioritise player safety," a statement read.

"The 'if in doubt, sit them out' protocol is not being applied consistently within the pressurised environment of elite competitive football.

"We see frequent incidents of players returning to play with a potential brain injury, only to be removed shortly afterwards once symptoms visibly worsen.

"As the representative voice of players in England, we have been clear to the IFAB [International Football Association Board] that we want to see the introduction of temporary concussion substitutes.

"Temporary concussion substitutes will allow medical teams additional time and an appropriate environment to make an initial assessment.

"Introducing temporary substitutes would allow a match to restart with neither side numerically disadvantaged, reducing pressure on players and medical teams to make quick decisions on whether an injured player continues.

"Put simply, the current rules set by the IFAB are not working, and players are being put at risk."

 

Cristiano Ronaldo sent a pointed "We stand United!" message after helping Ralf Rangnick's Red Devils score a dramatic 4-2 win over old foes Leeds.

The Elland Road victory for Manchester United came at the end of a week when the unity within Rangnick's dressing room has been called into question.

Suggestions of leaks from players to the press have seen criticism aimed at United stars, while it was even claimed Ronaldo and Harry Maguire are in a power struggle over the captaincy.

Interim head coach Rangnick shot down reports he was considering a mid-season change of skipper, saying defender Maguire would keep the job for the rest of the season. The German is in no position to make a longer-term pledge, given he is due to make way for a permanent boss once the campaign ends.

Maguire has also scoffed at the suggestion of such bickering in the squad. It was defender Maguire who headed United ahead in Sunday's Premier League clash in Leeds, while he also won all five of his duels.

Ronaldo was substituted with five minutes remaining, and there was no discontent from the Portuguese at that decision, when in the past he has at times taken issue with being replaced.

The victory strengthens United's hold on fourth place, and Ronaldo later declared: "Very important Premier League win before we change our focus to the Champions League and head to Madrid. Back on track! We stand United!"

The 37-year-old forward sent that message to his social media followers, who number 404 million on Instagram and 97.5 million on Twitter.

Ronaldo was not the only United player to celebrate with fans, as goalkeeper David de Gea told the United faithful in an Instagram post: "I guess you enjoyed as much as I did."

Winger Jadon Sancho also reacted, declaring: "A game we had to win. We delivered together as a team. Have a nice evening Reds."

Midfield general Paul Pogba savoured the occasion, and United's attitude to being pegged back from 2-0 to 2-2, writing: "It's not over until it's over. Great team spirit today, massive three points."

Ralf Rangnick described Manchester United's thrilling win over Leeds United as the "best reply" to reports of dressing disunity.

The Red Devils ran out 4-2 victors over their trans-Pennine rivals in a Premier League classic at Elland Road.

First-half goals from Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes had the visitors coasting, but a quickfire double from Rodrigo and Raphinha had Leeds level by the 54th minute.

However, substitutes Fred and Anthony Elanga were both on target to make it back-to-back Premier League wins for Rangnick's men.

The triumph comes at the end of a week in which captain Maguire and Marcus Rashford have both publicly denied articles claiming there is disharmony among Rangnick's squad.

Speaking at a news conference, interim boss Rangnick said: "We knew it was an important win today, similar to the one against West Ham, similar emotion at the end with a last-second goal.

"Today it was more important, not only that we won, but the way we reacted after conceding the equaliser, that was the best possible answer the team could give.

"It was perfect in regard to maturity and unity and the best reply they could give to some articles last week that there was disruption in the locker room.

"A game like this one today, you can only win as a team and the mentality of a team. Apart from the three points, this was the most important thing for me."

There is certainly no love lost between the two teams, but the hostile atmosphere at times boiled over with objects thrown in the direction of Manchester United players from sections of the home crowd.

Commenting on the unsavoury images, Rangnick added to MUTV: "As far as I know, there is some investigation going on from Leeds United.

"I don't think that anything happened in the end. Anthony Elanga looked well and he was happy about scoring his goal.

"Obviously things like that should not happen and I think even more so this game. The atmosphere was great.

"At times we had to cool down things on the pitch a little bit, but this is what I did when I walked onto the pitch [during a late fracas between the players]. I didn't want anything to happen – no yellow or red cards.

"In moments like this, I think it's important to try and cool things down."

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa said such things should not happen, though added he did not see what occurred.

"Any excess other than sporting should not be approved. I can't evaluate what you spoke about because I didn't see it," Bielsa said.

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