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Chris Sutton defends rash Luke Ayling decision as he provides Leeds United hope

By Ed Mackey

Amid lots of criticism, Chris Sutton has somewhat defended Luke Ayling’s red card at Arsenal as he believes the pressure of a relegation battle is getting to the Leeds United players. The Whites right-back will not play any further part in this season as a result of the three-match ban that follows his dismissal.

The three games that he will miss are three of the biggest in the club’s recent history as Leeds look to escape the grips of the relegation zone. Ayling adds to the lengthening list of senior players that are already unavailable to Jesse Marsch which will certainly come as a frustration to the American.

Although, Sutton gave a possible explanation for why the 30-year-old made such a rash decision, he said on the most recent episode of the Football Daily podcast : “I’ve seen a lot of Luke Ayling, I’ve never seen him make a challenge like that. I just wonder whether things are getting to the players.”

Read more: Five options Jesse Marsch has to replace Luke Ayling for Leeds United's relegation run-in

While the situation at Leeds has become much bleaker after dropping into the bottom three on Sunday, the former Blackburn striker believes they can take still leapfrog Burnley. The Clarets saw their recent impressive run come to an abrupt halt as they were beaten 3-0 at home by Aston Villa.

“I think it’s a really difficult one, the hope I’d have for Leeds is that defeat for Burnley at the weekend in a game where everybody expected them to maybe get another result,” added Sutton. “I just wonder whether they go really go under now, Burnley. That’s also part of Leeds’ hope now.”

The amount of goals the Whites have conceded this season means that, because of their goal difference, the fate of Marsch’s side isn’t in their own hands. Although, they simply have to better the amount of points that Burnley are able to pick up in the last three games.

Mike Jackson still has to take his side to Tottenham and Aston Villa before hosting Newcastle on the final day in a run of matches that could feasibly yield zero points. But, football is rarely ever that simple and Leeds must ensure they take as many points as possible to give them the best chance of survival.

Go here for all the latest Leeds United news.

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Dive Deeper:
Leeds United news as Alan Shearer states 'pressure is on Leeds' in relegation battle
Here are the evening's Leeds United headlines
Leeds United news as Eddie Gray identifies key plus-point in Whites relegation battle
A round-up of the latest Leeds United news
Leeds captain Liam Cooper launches foul-mouthed outburst at cameraman before Chelsea clash
Liam Cooper did not take kindly to a television camera filming him up-close seconds before kick-off in Leeds United's Premier…
How the relegation picture could change as Leeds United and Everton prepare for midweek matches
A look at the different scenarios from the midweek matches
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Leeds United have lost their shield and need to regain discipline as 49ers watch this climax closely
Here are our four talking points from Leeds United's 3-0 loss to Chelsea at Elland Road in the Premier League…
Leeds United news as Jesse Marsch won't blame individuals and Kalvin Phillips' message
Jesse Marsch's side fell 3-0 to Chelsea at Elland Road, in a game that saw winger Dan James sent off…
Get all your news in one place