Now that Bielsa has confirmed his presence for the next season, we can start to look back over what was a brilliant season, despite its fragile end. We’ve already had a look over the keepers and now it’s the defence’s turn.

It was a real mixed bag on the whole defensively, there were periods where Leeds looked unbeatable at the back and also moments of utter calamity that brought memories of Silvestri and Bellusci rushing back. Nobody wants that.

Luke Ayling

Grade: B

In certain games down the stretch when Leeds were falling apart, Ayling was the only player showing any heart and desire. His attacking output really improved the further into the season we got too.

It’s impossible though to forget his poor form during the mid part of the season, it didn’t exactly damage Leeds’ season but there was a time where it seemed he was really dragging the team down. Thankfully he recovered just in time before Leeds fans’ heads blew up due to the lack of Jamie Shackleton.

Gaetano Berardi

Grade: B-

Berardi went from keeping Jansson out of the team and the fans being happy about it, to keeping Jansson out of the team and potentially costing us a place at Wembley. Considering he spent most of the season injured, that’s quite an eventful year.

Before this season, nobody really thought of Berardi as a centre-back but Bielsa trusted him there and seems to rate him highly. If he hadn’t lost his head in that playoff game we could well be a Premier League side now, but of course there’s a lot more too it than that.

Pontus Jansson

Grade: A

There are always times where Jansson makes you question what exactly is going through his head, but on the most part this season he was excellent and our best player at times.

On his day he’s the best defender in the Championship. It’s pivotal that we keep hold of him going into Bielsa’s second season.

Liam Cooper

Grade: A

Everybody will remember his nightmare in the playoffs and dodgy mistake against Sheffield United, rightly so, but he’s been one of our most consistent performers throughout the season.

If he could cut out the mistakes he’d probably be playing at a higher level but that’s exactly why he’s here, really.

Barry Douglas

Grade: C

The first few months of the season were promising, some great passing and solid at the back. Injuries disrupted his season and whenever we saw him after that he seemed like half the player.

His ball in for our equaliser against Millwall was excellent though. I’d expect him to play a big part next season.

Gjanni Alioski

Grade: B+

Alioski was having quite a hard time as a winger early on this season but due to our lack of options and Bielsa being a big fan of him, we had to suffer through it. However, move him to left-back and it’s a different story.

He can run for days and he seemed to do better attacking work as a defender for some reason. His defending at times was lacking but on the whole he was excellent there.

Stuart Dallas

Grade: C+

The only player to turn up in the playoff second-leg really and what a performance it was. It makes you wonder why he’s never been given a go as a winger this season despite Harrison’s lack of form at times.

We’ve only really seen Dallas play left-back this season and for the most part it was a hard watch.

Leif Davis

Grade: A

Came into the team away at Aston Villa with about 15 minutes notice and that was arguably the game of the seasons so go on Leif, have yourself an A. Great name, too.

Aapo Halme

Grade: B

Whenever Halme actually played he looked really decent to me so it was a little bit surprising he wasn’t used more during one of our many injury-ridden spells.

He seemed to drop off the face of the earth in the later stages of the campaign. Also, the only Leeds player to score at Loftus Road this season.


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