Alex McLeish has admitted he is concerned with how vulnerable Leeds United look in defence ahead of the clash against Newcastle United.

The former Aston Villa and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted Robin Koch has been a “massive loss” for Marcelo Bielsa, with the 24-year-old ruled out for up to three months.

Leeds have conceded 22 goals in the Premier League this season, the joint-second most in the division, with over a quarter of those having come from set-pieces.

Leeds United defender

Bielsa has had to constantly chop and change his centre-back pairing this season, with both of Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper sidelined for periods of the campaign.

McLeish has admitted losing such influential players will always disrupt the balance of the side and suggested the Leeds defence may be lacking in confidence ahead of Wednesday’s visit to St James’ Park.

McLeish told Football Insider: “You know, listen, Bielsa’s the first man who will have seen where all these goals are coming from.

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“I talk about personnel, key personnel, and if you’re losing key players in defence who have been there for a while, who have been there organising things, marshalling things, heading balls away, fighting like fury to clear the danger, when you don’t have them that’s a massive loss, it is a massive loss. 

Leeds United boss

“They do look vulnerable at the moment, I must say, every time I see them running through the tunnel I’m thinking they’re going to have a problem today.

“It damages the confidence and that’s where I feel Leeds are at the moment.”

Leeds managed to keep clean sheets against Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Everton but have also conceded three or more goals in five of their 12 games.

In other news, Football Insider has delivered a major update on Tyler Roberts quitting Elland Road next month.