BELOW-PAR Leeds United need to recharge their batteries after their miserable record against Brighton continued with a 2-0 defeat on the Sussex coast.

The sluggish Whites, lacking injured stars Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, never got into gear as Albion notched their fifth win in a row against the West Yorkshire side with an aggregate score of 11-0.

United’s worst performances of the season have both come at the hands of Brighton, the 1-0 defeat at Elland Road in January followed by Saturday’s poor showing which all but guarantees the Seagulls’ Premiership safety. Significantly, Phillips didn’t play in either fixture.

Only the final four games of the season will tell if Marcelo Bielsa’s side have burned their energy reserves but they looked a well-beaten, almost ragged, outfit by the final whistle.

One major factor in the overall pattern in Saturday's game was the visitors’ inability to squeeze Brighton’s three rock-solid centre-backs who were able to push forward to easily towards midfield.

Brighton, well coached by former York City defender Graham Potter, were better with and without the ball against a Leeds side who lacked zip and cohesion throughout.

The home side had already fluffed a couple of well-crafted openings before Ezjian Alioski, not for the first time this season, conceded a penalty when clumsily bringing down former England man Danny Welbeck. Pascal Gross fired in the 17th-minute spot-kick and Brighton never looked back.

Alioski endured a torrid first 45 minutes and was replaced at half-time with utility man Stuart Dallas switching from midfield to full-back. Dallas did a better job at containing Leandro Trossard but United suffered in the middle of the park as a consequence where Tyler Roberts and Mateusz Klick struggled to link defence with attack.

Little was seen of Patrick Bamford, or his replacement Rodrigo, in attack while Robin Koch, making his first start since injury at Chelsea in December, filled the Phillips role. The German international did a decent job before fading – not surprising after missing so much senior football – and could not prevent Brighton from carving out several good openings.

While Leeds huffed and puffed with the bulk of possession, Potter’s men were sharper in the tackle and crisper with their passing. Only poor finishing by the hosts kept Leeds in it until a piece of class in the 79th-minute by Danny Welbeck killed off Leeds, his superb turn and shot making sure Leeds would not extend their six-game unbeaten run.

Bielsa said: “We didn’t play well. The victory for the opponent was fair. We created very little danger and it was difficult for us to recover the ball.

“The game was hard with the height of their centre-backs. We couldn’t avoid them initiating the play nor could we overcome them trying to get in behind.”

Leeds will need to up their game considerably if they are to make any impression in their next game – against Tottenham at Elland this Saturday (12.30pm).

Bielsa is not a man to make wholesale changes on the back of one bad performance but his team selection against Spurs could be interesting. Skipper Liam Cooper will be available after serving a three-game suspension while Leeds fans will be hoping Phillips and Raphinha shake off their respective injuries to add dynamism to the team.

Two more Leeds fixtures have been moved. They will now travel to Burnley on Saturday, May 15 (3pm) and head to Southampton the following Wednesday (7.45pm).

Brighton and Hove Albion: Sanchez, Webster, Dunk, White, Veltman, Gross, Bissouma (Mac Alister 90+2), Burn, Trossard (Jahanbakhsh 81), Welbeck (Moder 90), Maupay. Subs (not used): Steele, Alzate, Propper, Connolly, Izquierdo, Zeqiri. Caution: Gross

Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente (Hernandez 79), Struijk, Alioski (Poveda HT), Koch, Klich, Dallas, Roberts, Harrison, Bamford (Rodrigo 59). Subs (not used): Casilla, Beradi, Jenkins, Shackleton, Drameh. Caution: Ayling

Referee: Chris Cavanagh Att: Behind closed doors