It seems that Luke Ayling mirrored how many Leeds United fans felt when Patrick Bamford was substituted during the defeat on Sunday, with The Athletic reporting that the skipper looked perplexed when the striker’s number came up during the second-half.

Once again, Leeds are reflecting on being left empty-handed after a good performance. The Whites were superb for much of the game against Manchester United. However, two late goals saw Michael Skubala’s men beaten at Elland Road.

Ayling Bamford
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

For many, the defeat felt inevitable by the time Luke Shaw went to cross the ball for Marcus Rashford to break the deadlock. Firstly, Leeds had squandered a number of chances while on top.

Ayling perplexed by Bamford substitution

And secondly, the Whites had given up their momentum in the game at some stage during the second-half. And for some, that moment came when Skubala started making changes.

Ayling Bamford
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Three minutes before the hour-mark, Georginio Rutter came on for Patrick Bamford. Meanwhile, Brenden Aaronson replaced Jack Harrison with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Neither change worked for Leeds. In particular, the decision to take Bamford off seemed to really hurt the Whites. Rutter was disappointing when he came on against Manchester United. And Bamford had led the line extremely well for much of the game.

The decision certainly appeared to backfire. But plenty of fans will suggest that they could see that happening.

There was a sense of confusion inside the stadium when Bamford’s name was called. And it seems that the players were also baffled.

The Athletic has reported that Ayling appeared perplexed when Bamford came off.

You can understand Skubala’s thinking in some respects. Rutter is the club’s record signing. And he was bright at Old Trafford in midweek. He would have also been wary of upsetting the balance of the system by throwing him on alongside Bamford.

Bamford did a lot of brilliant work. But things also did not fall for him in front of goal.

However, the timing just seemed to be off. Perhaps Rutter could have replaced Bamford later on in the half. But taking the Englishman off with more than half an hour remaining certainly did not help Leeds.

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