By Kevin Phillips

17th Sep, 2021 | 8:00am

Phillips 'surprised' by what he's seen at Leeds pre-Newcastle tonight

Leeds United must forget about Pascal Struijk’s red card and turn their focus onto picking up their first win of the season at Newcastle, according to Kevin Phillips.

The 2000 European Golden Shoe winner, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested too much of the Whites’ build-up to the crunch clash has been centred around Struijk’s suspension.

Leeds saw their appeal for the red card shown to Struijk in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Liverpool rejected on Wednesday.

As quoted by Leeds Live (16th September), Bielsa spoke at length about the incident and insisted there was no malice in the challenge and that it is “impossible to anticipate a successful ball recovery”.

Marcelo Biela’s side will be forced to field a makeshift backline at St. James’ Park on Friday night with Struijk, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente all unavailable.

When asked by Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs for his assessment of the latest, Phillips said: “You cannot dwell on it now. It’s done.

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“There is nothing you can do about it as much as it is harsh.

“The big thing now is who is going to come in to plug that leaky defence?

“It has been not been a good start from Leeds. It’s been surprising to me. I didn’t think they’d struggle like they have but the second season is always difficult.

“The game against Newcastle is a big one. They need a win and a convincing one at that. They’re coming up against a Newcastle team that is low on confidence as well.

“The players and staff need to completely forget about the Struijk incident and concentrate on getting three points because they desperately need it.”

In other news, Leeds United told to pay £20million to seal O’Brien deal after source’s update.