Danny Mills has heaped praise on Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa for the way Pascal Struijk has adapted to life as a Premier League centre-back.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Whites and England full-back claimed Struijk and his defensive partner have done “very, very well” together.
Struijk is a defensive midfielder by trade but has been employed at the heart of defence with Robin Koch, Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper all missing with injury.
Leeds kept clean sheets against Burnley and West Brom with Struijk and Ayling at the heart of their defence before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham.
The Lilywhites scored their first goal from the penalty spot and their third came from a mistake by goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
Asked by Football Insider what he made of Struijk’s recent performances at centre-back, Mills said: “It’s incredible isn’t it how Bielsa manages to take players, not from obscurity, but from a different position from the academy. He’ll put a right-back in centre-half, a left-winger at right-back. It’s unbelievable how he manages to do that and get performances.
“That takes an awful lot of work on the training ground, an awful lot of trust and an awful lot of belief in his players.
“That’s down to good coaching and good management. They’ve done very, very well.
“And Luke Ayling looks very, very comfortable alongside him at centre-half. I know he’s played there in the past but predominantly he’s a right-back. It does take a little bit of getting used to.
“It just goes to show they are working unbelievably hard to make things work on the training ground.”