By support

1st Mar, 2017 | 4:20pm

Pep Clotet: This is the secret behind solid Leeds defence

By Will Butcher

Pep Clotet believes Leeds’ wonderful form at the back this season is down to the footballing brains of his side’s defenders.

Assistant manager Clotet watched from the dugout at Hillsborough on Saturday as Leeds recorded their 14th clean sheet of the season during the 1-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday.

Talking to Leeds’ official Twitter account ahead of Friday night’s clash against Birmingham, Clotet claimed Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley and Rob Green’s intelligence are key in keeping the door slammed shut.

“They all have a very good collective mind when it comes to defending. They’re very solid, because they work hard and with a lot of brains.

“We close gaps very well and it’s difficult for the opposition to find spaces to get through us and we hope we can remain that defensively solid until the end of the season.”

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Leeds have conceded just 34 goals in as many Championship games this season, as they look to maintain their charge towards promotion under manager Garry Monk.

The Yorkshire giants will be hoping that continues in the Midlands on Friday, as they travel to St. Andrew’s Stadium in search of a 20th league win against Gianfranco Zola’s Birmingham.

Currently in fourth, an eighth away league win will see the Whites move to within just one point of third-placed Huddersfield and seven away from the automatic promotion places.

A win would also heap the pressure on the likes of play-off rivals Reading and Sheffield Wednesday, who play a day later on Saturday.

However, Clotet will be without Monk in the dugout at Birmingham – he serves a one-match touchline ban for his part in the fracas during the loss to Huddersfield.

Clotet joined Leeds in the summer along with manager Monk and first-team coach James Beattie, after working together at Swansea City.

In other Leeds news, this is the expected side to face Zola’s Birmingham.

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