Lee Dixon was critical of Leeds United defender Luke Ayling during his role as co-commentator on ITV Sport as Leeds cruised to a 5-2 win over Cardiff City on Wednesday night – after Ayling made a mistake for Cardiff’s first of two goals.

Leeds secured their first win in all competitions since November 5, with a brilliant display at Elland Road. Willy Gnonto and Patrick Bamford both scored two, while Rodrigo got his 12th of the season. Leeds were leading 5-0 at one stage.

But Callum Robinson came off the bench to score a late brace of his own for Cardiff. A mistake from Ayling allowed Robinson to nip in and head past Illan Meslier. Then, a harsh handball on Marc Roca saw Robinson score a penalty kick.

Dixon spoke on £35k-a-week Ayling’s mistake for Robinson’s first goal. He allows the ball to drift through his legs when he had time to clear: “He has plenty of time to deal with this. I’ve got no idea what he is trying to do. Clear it.”

Leeds United v Cardiff City: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
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Dixon critical of Leeds defender Ayling after mistake for Cardiff goal

It was a bizarre one. Luckily, Leeds were five goals to the good and the mistake had little, to no bearing on the result. But it will be a worry for Ayling and for Jesse Marsch, that the defender allowed Robinson to score under no pressure.

What must be said, is that Ayling made the mistake while in the middle of defence. He replaced Max Wober, who picked up an injury – but, not deemed to be a serious one. Robin Koch, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk have knocks.

Ayling is a right-back and so much better as a flying, right-sided defender. He has proven he is shaky in the middle. But given the injuries Leeds have at centre-back, it might be that Ayling starts with Diego Llorente on Sunday afternoon.

Leeds United v Cardiff City: Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
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