By Alex Stevens
Noel Whelan has expressed his “disappointment” at the performance of Kalvin Phillips in Leeds’ 2-1 Championship defeat to Burton on Saturday.
The Yorkshire giants slumped to their second consecutive league defeat at the Pirelli Stadium to leave their play-off hopes hanging by a thread.
Victories for Leeds’ top-six rivals Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday mean Garry Monk’s side have fallen three points behind sixth position with two matches of the campaign remaining.
Former Leeds striker Whelan pinpointed central midfield as one area where the team were found wanting in the clash against the relegation strugglers.
He was unimpressed with the performance of academy product Phillips and believes Monk should have selected Eunan O’Kane to partner Ronaldo Vieira.
“Phillips has been disappointing for me – he doesn’t seem to be at it,” Whelan told BBC Radio Leeds, as quoted by the BBC Leeds live match blog (Saturday, 3.53pm). “He’s almost tried to do too much at times, and I think O’Kane keeps the ball better.
“O’Kane would probably be a little bit calmer and drive into space. It’s natural to be nervous – there’s a lot riding on today.”
Phillips and Vieira were reunited in central midfield after skipper Liam Bridcutt was ruled out due to injury.
Phillips was starting his fourth consecutive match for the promotion hopefuls.
In other Leeds United team news, the club have done the deal for an out-of-window transfer of a midfield player.