Leeds United 0 Birmingham City 2: YEP jury verdicts

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Our YEP Jury have their say on Leeds United’s 2-0 home defeat against Birmingham City.

STEPHEN CLARK

Lewis Cook loses out to City forward Clayton Donaldson.

Lewis Cook loses out to City forward Clayton Donaldson.

It’s only the first weekend in October but there were times as I sat watching Leeds pass the ball aimlessly from one flank to the other that I thought to myself “the season is already over.”

In reality it is far from over but the 2-0 defeat to Birmingham City highlighted that Leeds United look as far away from mounting a promotion challenge as ever.

The frustrating thing is, that for the first time in a long time, we appear to have the players capable of making a concerted push, especially given the paucity of the opposition in the Championship.

Birmingham City did not play us off the park with silky football. They just sat back and watched us attempt to play possession football and then picked us off on the break.

If possession is nine tenths of the law, then the other tenth has to be ambition and Leeds are apparently lacking that on the field. Only when Jordan Botaka and Mirco Antenucci were introduced off the bench did we have players who looked interested in taking a man on and driving forward.

It is the lack of drive which will see Leeds floundering in the mid to lower reaches of the Championship for the foreseeable future. Given Uwe Rosler’s career as a player it is strange that he, so far, seems unable to inspire a similar battling style from his players.

The Whites need someone to grab the side by the scruff of the neck when they become as lethargic as they were on Saturday and shake them into action.

Lewis Cook may only be 18 years old, but for me he looks to be the man who could do that, if he was given the responsibility. At times he looked lost on Saturday, unsure of his role as Alex Mowatt visible lack of confidence and Luke Murphy’s inability to pick a forward pass left the United midfield a shell of the unit that was so admirable last season. With the side now blessed with talent on the flanks, give Cook a central role in a midfield four and allow his talent to flourish.

At home, Leeds should be going for the throat from the off. Play with two up front and attack from the off and the crowd at Elland Road will roar them on. If we continue in the same vein as on Saturday we will be Yawning on Together through another season of missed opportunities.

Man of the match: Jordan Botaka.

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KEITH INGHAM

Leeds United lost back-to-back fixtures for the first time this season when Birmingham City won 2-0 in another disappointing performance at Elland Road.

Uwe Rosler made four changes, Cooper, Murphy, Buckley and Wood starting with Bellusci, Mowatt, Antenucci and Botaka dropped to the bench.

Birmingham went in front just after the half-hour mark when Gray netted for the away side.

Although Leeds tried to equalise the away side were resolute throughout the first half and the half ended with City one goal up.

The second half followed the same pattern and Leeds only managed one shot on target which was dealt with by the City keeper.

Leeds, with all the pressure, didn’t have the final ball to finish off the moves they constructed. City then made it 2-0 with a breakaway goal in injury time.

It’s becoming lamentable the form in Leeds 11 and although Cellino supported his head coach this week, more insipid performances like this may change his mind.

Uwe Rosler admitted it was a poor performance and he was right, hopefully things will improve markedly after the international break.

Man of the match: Jordan Botaka.

MATTHEW EVANS

United were woeful on Saturday. Birmingham sat in their own half waiting to hit us on the break and we played straight into their hands by stroking our 67 per cent of possession across our own back line and making little or no attempt to go forward.

Most of the team looked like they couldn’t care less about the result from first to final whistle and our slack, casual approach with no urgency whatsoever meant we surrendered three very achievable points. A worrying pedestrian approach.

Small positives: Lewis Cook played well, the full backs looked okay and Jordan Botaka’s introduction made a difference but Uwe Rosler’s got some real work to do in the next fortnight.

Man of the match: Jordan Botaka.

GARY NEWBOULD

Once again United contributed to their own downfall with naive defending on several occasions – of which two were punished. It is now some seven months since United last won at Elland Road – simply unacceptable!

Man of the match: The 24,000 fans who deserved much better.

DAVID WATKINS

Well, we did wonder about the whole YEP Jury predicting a Leeds win in this one!

With ten league games completed I think we have to conclude that this is going to be a very difficult season.

On the face of it we have some decent footballers but, for whatever reason, the team as a whole is not delivering results. The performance against Birmingham reminded me of many, many similar toothless displays we have put in over the last two or three seasons. We make too many errors, we create too little and our final ball and finishing is not clinical.

Birmingham, like Boro last week, were ruthlessly efficient; no mistakes and their few chances taken.

Man of the match: Jordan Botaka.

JAMES HARRISON

Another awful home performance. It is said every year that we need to make Elland Road into a fortress but we always struggle. We lacked creativity, spark and the whole performance was flat with no intensity. Our front three rarely touched the ball and that was the worst I’ve seen the midfield play all season.

Man of the match: Jordan Botaka.

Garry Monk.

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