Pascal Struijk on his Leeds United defensive preference ahead of Newcastle United visit and praise for improving team mate - YEP 18/1/22

Pascal Struijk has given his verdict on his Leeds United comeback and hailed an improving Whites team mate ahead of Saturday's showdown against Newcastle United at Elland Road.

By Lee Sobot

Struijk returned straight to the Whites starting line-up for Sunday's Premier League clash at West Ham United having missed his side's last six games with a foot injury.

The 22-year-old slotted back into the middle of the defence alongside Luke Ayling and says he relished his battle against Irons powerhouse striker Michail Antonio who managed just one shot at goal as Leeds secured a thrilling 3-2 victory.

Winger Jack Harrison bagged all three goals for Marcelo Bielsa's visitors and Struijk says Sunday's hat-trick hero is now rediscovering his best form of last season which featured eight goals and eight assists.

"I am really happy for him," said Struijk, speaking to LUTV.

"He has done really well.

"I think he is improving over the last couple of games, getting his old form back so really good and I am pleased for him."

At the other end of the pitch, Struijk was delighted with his own Whites comeback and has signalled a message about tackling the division's most physical centre-halves ahead of a possible battle against former Whites striker Chris Wood this weekend.

Assessing whether he was pleased with the performance in Sunday's triumph at the London Stadium, Struijk reasoned: "Very, against a good side.

"It was my first game back I think in six weeks.

"I was very happy with my own performance and as well as a team.

"We were up and then they came back twice and then we still managed to get the third goal.

"We almost didn't see it out but we did so that's good and we got the three points.

"I always like to play against the nice physical strikers more than the small quick ones.

"But I really enjoyed it. It was a good fight and I'm very happy with how it went."

Pressed on the fact that many were considering the display as United's best of the season, Struijk smiled: "If people think so I would be very happy because it's my first game back.

"But overall I think it was a very good performance from us and let's try and keep this going."

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