“It’s only a friendly.” “Look at last season’s preseason.” “This is not our Premier League side.” Those three statements are likely to be bounced around a lot after today’s game against Stoke by Leeds United fans looking for some justification of the 3-0 defeat suffered at the hands of the Potters.

It was a game of two 40-minute halves and one where Leeds United deployed the Bielsa-style minimal approach to substitutions. With some sides swapping a new XI in at the half, Bielsa took just three outfield replacements in a ploy that is intended to get minutes in the legs of his players.

As it turned out, that is all that they got.

In essence, a patched-up Leeds United side, where only the front four were recognisable from last season’s Championship-winning side, was easily beaten by roughly the same outfit that was flirting with a relegation battle.

Paul Ince played a blinder by all accounts whilst Leeds United stumbled around as if they were blind at times. Yes, it’s a run-out that is more about fitness than anything. Yes, it’s a game where welcome minutes were had by those who took part in it. Yes, it has been useful in its own, intrinsic way.

Yet, at the heart of it all, it was a performance that many Leeds United fans will struggle to fathom and reckon on. Many will indicate that the Whites should easily have been able to put up at least a goal against a sdie they dominated so easily the last time they played them.

We go again. Hopefully better.

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