STEVE Bruce will doubtless be putting his Newcastle players through their set-piece routines ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Elland Road (6pm).

He’ll be looking to take a leaf out of West Ham’s book by exploiting a major weakness in Leeds United’s game.

Headers from a corner and a free-kick earned the Hammers at 2-1 win as Marcelo Bielsa’s side crashed to their third successive Premiership home defeat on Friday night.

Of the 22 goals Leeds have conceded this term, seven have come from set-pieces.

The Leeds coach said: “There are no mysteries to solving the things we have to do. The set-pieces can be perfected by continuously training them. You have to reproduce what happens in the game in the training session. We will continue insisting on this until we resolve the problem.”

Without either injured summer signings Robin Koch and Diego Llorente there was an obvious lack of height in the Whites’ reshuffled central defence which West Ham exploited.

David Moyes has moulded a much-improved Hammers into a strong unit which combines physicality with a dash of flair.

It’s no surprise West Ham are building a reputation of being set-piece experts. Leeds are not a particularly big side so there was an inevitability about the visitors’ goals.

West Ham cancelled out Leeds’ controversial sixth-minute twice-taken penalty from a Jarod Bowen corner. It was sent deep where 6ft 3in Tomas Soucek towered above Stuart Dallas to head past Illan Meslier.

The winner came ten minutes from the end when substitute Helder Costa needlessly gave away a free-kick which Ryan Creswell delivered to perfection on to the head of Angelo Ogbonna.

In contrast Leeds’ crosses often failed to reach their targets, particularly from the left where Jack Harrison and Ezgjan Alioski fluffed their opportunities. Both were hauled off by an unimpressed Bielsa at half-time. Replacements Costa and Jamie Shackleton fared little better.

Apart from Meslier, who recovered from the soft concession of Soucek’s 25th-minute equaliser with some fine saves, Luke Ayling and Kalvin Phillips, few Leeds players shined under Elland Road’s new diamond-shaped floodlights.

Worryingly for Leeds supporters, several players looked leggy. When high-energy pressing is a vital cog in the Bielsa machine that is a major problem if players are running out of gas so early in the season.

West Ham finished much the stronger side and deserved their victory, recovering from that early penalty shock. Lukasz Fabianski clearly brought down Patrick Bamford but redeemed himself by stopping fellow Polish international Mateusz Klick’s weak spot-kick. Play resumed for quite a while before VAR intervened and ruled that the goalkeeper had been a fraction off his line.

To the anger of Moyes, Klich made the most of his reprieve to score at the second time of asking. ““I think his heel is on the line. You need to have a microscope to see it. Surely the benefit should go to the goalkeeper, he has made the save. The game continued for 15 seconds and carried on. I am disappointed and angry with it,” railed the West Ham boss.

With a small squad hit by defensive injuries, Bielsa has little wriggle room to make changes for the Newcastle game, although the inexperienced Pascal Struijk could come into the reckoning to add some much-needed height to the backline.

It won’t have gone unnoticed at Elland Road that Newcastle’s 2-1win against West Brom on Saturday was clinched by a brilliant header by Dwight Gayle.

Leeds United: Meslier, Alioski (Shackleton HT), Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Harrison (Costa HT), Raphinha, Rodrigo, Bamford (Roberts 74). Subs not used: Casilla, Struijk, Hernandez, Poveda. Caution: Alioski

West Ham United: Fabianski, Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Soucek, Bowen (Johnson 85), Benrahma (Noble 84), Fornals (Snodgrass 90+5), Haller. Subs (not used): Lanzini, Dawson, Fredericks, Randolph. Bookings: Fabianski, Noble

Ref: Michael Oliver

Att: Behind closed doors