Noel Whelan gives verdict on Luke Ayling's Leeds United performance

Joel Asoro of Swansea City (R) is fouled by Luke Ayling of Leeds United which was awarded as a penalty kick during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Swansea City at...

Pundit defends Leeds United star.

Joel Asoro of Swansea City (R) is fouled by Luke Ayling of Leeds United which was awarded as a penalty kick during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Swansea City at...

Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling gave away a late penalty in last night's win over Swansea City.

Leeds won the game 2-1, with the 86th minute penalty setting the game up for a nervous finish.

 

Prior to that point Leeds had been cruising, and fortunately managed to hang on to earn all three points.

Ayling's challenge was clumsy, but prior to that point he had a good game.

Former Leeds striker and pundit Noel Whelan stuck up for Ayling.

Barrie McKay of Swansea City (R) crosses the ball past Luke Ayling of Leeds United during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Swansea City at Elland Road on February 13,...

He said Ayling deserves to keep his place in the team based on what he has contributed previously.

Whelan told BBC Radio Leeds' post-game coverage: "There will be a lot of criticism coming in. Luke will be the first to criticise himself.

"When you know what you are and how good you can be, it's hard to emulate that week in week out.

"The manager is doing the right thing sticking by him because he knows how important he is to the team.

"He's been one of most consistent players over the last two to three seasons, and integral this season.

"Everyone has a little dip, he's fighting the way through it. He was excellent tonight. Yes he made a mistake, but people need to give him little bit of a break."

Leeds United's Luke Ayling applaud the fans after the match

Ayling started the season for Leeds in terrific form, before getting injured in late October.

He returned in December but has found it tough to reach his previous levels of performance.

Ayling was heavily criticised after the weekend performance against Middlesbrough, and tonight won't help, but there were good moments.

It was Ayling's cross into the box which freed Ezgjan Alioski to set up Jack Harrison for Leeds' second goal, and that contribution should not be ignored.

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