Eddie Gray: Leeds United need to follow the Clarets’ example

Sam Byram
Sam Byram
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The thing about watching Leeds United at the minute for me is that 90 per cent of the players in the dressing room seem to be glad when the games are not at Elland Road.

It shouldn’t be like that and they should take note of the position Burnley are in and just look at their home form.

They haven’t lost a game at home for over a year. When you look at them, they are not a team of superstars.

Last summer, they had to sell their top player, Charlie Austin, too.

They deserve a lot of credit and Sean Dyche has done extremely well for them.

We know we can perform when we are on top of our game, especially away from home.

But we’ve got to do it more at Elland Road and it’s a good opportunity against Millwall this weekend.

Last Saturday was a lot better performance from us, certainly than the recent home ones which have been abysmal and it was a lot like the QPR game.

But no matter how good your away form is, if you want to get promoted, it’s all about your home form as Burnley and Leicester have proved.

The home issue is something the players here, whoever they may be, must overcome next year.

We were in control of the game in the first half on Saturday. We passed it around well, looked confident and took the lead, only to let them back into it in the second half when we didn’t do enough to deserve to win the game.

We never really bossed the game like in the early stages and they always looked capable of getting a goal.

I didn’t think Burnley played particularly well and they gave the ball away a lot. But what I noticed was that they never got flustered and they showed patience. You get that belief from things going well. They know how they are going to play.

There’s no doubt they missed Danny Ings. But I thought Ashley Barnes got better the longer the game went on.

For us, I thought big Matt Smith caused them problems. But in the second half, we just let them back into the game more and more.

Brian McDermott was disappointed after the game, rightly so and felt we should have won. Maybe so, if we’d have carried on playing like we did in the first half. But we never did. When you are on top of teams, you have got to hammer home your advantage. To play well for 45 minutes is just not good enough.

I thought we had the opportunity to win because we were playing well and we started confidently and looked more comfortable than we have done at Elland Road for a while.

But we didn’t play with the same confidence and freedom in the second half.

Very rarely this season have we put two good 45-minute performances together consistently.

You can’t expect to play well for 45 minutes and for it be enough to win the game. You have to play well for ninety minutes.

The longer Saturday’s game went, the more our key players disappeared out of it and we didn’t dominate enough. We gave them the belief to think: ‘We can win this.’

The game sort of summed up our season when we just haven’t sustained performances. We have had bright periods in the season when we have looked good, but we let teams back into games all the time. I can understand Brian being frustrated and he will look at his players and think: ‘Why didn’t we maintain what we did in the first half?’

I just think it’s a question of mentality and we let teams back in stupidly. Look at Saturday when we gave so many stupid free-kicks away in the second half when we were barging into people and silly things. It lets opponents back into games. It’s about maintaining your discipline.

When you get yourself into a winning position, you hammer home your advantage.

But we didn’t and Burnley did. Everyone is surprised how they have maintained it this season and you have to give them a lot of credit. They are not now that far from getting over the line and are the only team who have looked like holding onto Leicester.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

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