Leeds United have been hit by a devastating “double whammy” by the “cruel” blows to Robin Koch and Diego Llorente.

That is according to Michael Brown, the former Leeds midfielder speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge about the defensive injuries casting a major cloud over the team.

Leeds ended the weekend 14th in the Premier League after fielding Luke Ayling as a makeshift centre-back in last Friday’s 2-1 home defeat to West Ham.

United are facing a defensive crisis over the coming weeks in the long-term absence of Robin Koch, while Diego Llorente has made only one sub appearance since he joined due to a series of muscle issues.

Marcelo Bielsa revealed last Wednesday that Llorente, 27, will be sidelined for “two to three weeks” with another muscle problem, just days after he recovered from a groin injury to make his debut at Chelsea.

Koch is not expect to return until March after undergoing knee surgery last week.

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Asked about the Koch blow, Brown told Football Insider: “He’s a big loss when he’s played all those games, you get that sort of consistency, that fluidity almost and you’re gonna miss that.

“We were ready to see Llorente, we feel like he was ready to almost get that spot but blink and you almost missed him. With Leeds United, with the squad depth, it’s difficult to lose two good players.”

Bielsa last week ruled out signing a permanent defender in January but there is the possibility of a temporary arrival heading to Elland Road.

Leeds United boss

Asked about Bielsa’s revelation, Brown said: “I just think that if the player’s available, you’d always love to strengthen. When you look at numbers and look at defensive option in central defence, you would say they should be okay but these things happen at times where injuries can come and be so cruel.

“At the moment, that’s been a double whammy in that area, where they are playing open football – people are going to get questioned in regards to what’s right and wrong.”

In other news, Bielsa “may be set for U-turn” as Leeds United on verge of agreeing contract.