By Alex McLeish

14th Jan, 2021 | 7:00am

Exclusive: Pundit shares Leeds dressing room fears after Hay's Thorp Arch reveal

Several Leeds United players may have suffered a big confidence hit after losing to Crawley Town, according to Alex McLeish.

The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, believes Marcelo Bielsa and his coaches will want to keep a sense of positivity around the squad after a chastening defeat to the League Two outfit.

The Athletic’s Phil Hay revealed that club sources described a “calm mood” around the Whites’ Thorp Arch training ground in the aftermath of what was a major upset in the cup.

A mix of first-team and under-23 players featured in the 3-0 defeat, including the likes of Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, Kiko Casilla and Rodrigo Moreno.

McLeish believes that the coaching staff will be trying to turn the squad’s attention back to the Whites’ Premier League campaign but admitted it would be a task easier said than done.

McLeish told Football Insider: The players who were involved in it will definitely be thinking about it, I defy any player to say: ‘I’m not worried about that, I only play against the big teams, I only save my form for that.’ 

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“I get what you’re saying, it’s quite calm the next day, it’s possible that the way the game  is changing all the time that you’re going into the dressing room or your bunch of coaches are saying: ‘Look, we’ve got to keep the mood confident because we’ve got more important things.’

“Let’s face it, they have more important things than the FA Cup, they should have been beating Crawley Town but the biggest priority will be the Premier League and I guess they’ll want to keep a good mood amongst the players.

“Individually, there will be guys playing in that game who will find it difficult to accept, the winners in that team will be saying: ‘I’m so embarrassed. The only thing I want to do and the best thing that can happen for me is the next game.’ You can’t wait for the next game to try and put it right – unless it’s affected one or two’s confidence.”

Sunday’s defeat means Marcelo Bielsa has never taken Leeds past the third round of the FA Cup since his arrival at Elland Road.

The Whites are set to return to league action with a home tie against Brighton on Saturday.

In other news, Leeds United have re-entered the race to sign a Liverpool defender after a failed bid last summer.