The lowdown: Treacherous times for Leeds
As things stand, the Whites are one point outside the relegation zone, having played a game more than Burnley in 18th.
Therefore, the Whites could conceivably be in the bottom three when Jesse Marsch’s side travel to west London to take on Brentford on the final day of the 2021/22 campaign next Sunday, should the Clarets avoid defeat to Aston Villa on Thursday.
Ahead of the potential showdown, one former Elland Road player has urged a modern-day icon to stand up and be counted…
The latest: Raphinha told to ‘step up’
The 44-year-old said of the Brazilian: “I keep hearing that he’s a top-class player. He’s got to start doing it and it’s games like these where you have to step up.
“I was in a Leeds side that went to Arsenal on the penultimate day of the season and we needed to win to stay up, not dissimilar to the position Leeds were in at home to Brighton.
“We went to Arsenal, if they won they were still in the title race. We went there and won because Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka stepped up that day.
“They were top-quality players who maybe hadn’t performed as you’d expect through the season but they turned up that day and were sensational. That’s the sort of performance you need from Raphinha.
“When games are tight you need your star players to shine and I don’t think we’ve really seen it in the past few weeks.”
The verdict: Big-game players needed
There can be no doubt that Marsch will be looking to the likes of Raphinha to earn what could be a crucial three points in the final game of the season.
Despite the struggles across the board at Elland Road this term, the 25-year-old Brazilian has managed eight goals and registered 11 assists in 38 appearances across all competitions.
However, the seven-cap Brazil ace is now without a direct goal contribution in five games at the most pivotal time of the campaign – missing one big chance in a 7.5-rated Sofascore performance against Brighton – and Mills is right to deliver such a call-to-arms of someone with Raphinha’s unquestioned ability who has had some tame performances of late.
How many signings do Leeds need to make this summer?
Moreover, should the £40.5m-valued winger fail to deliver on Sunday and Leeds suffer the indignity of relegation as a consequence, then a long-mooted move away from Yorkshire could loom closer on the horizon for the Samba star.
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