ANOTHER thoroughly bewildering few days it might have been for Leeds United at the start of this week, but captain Sol Bamba insists there was one clear dressing-room message before kick-off at Fulham on Wednesday night.
It ran something along the lines of let’s endeavour to forget what we can’t control and try and put a smile or two back on the faces of supporters, with the chaotic off-the-field events at the start of the week far from a one-off.
It was a message reinforced before kick-off at Craven Cottage by new boss Steve Evans, with the Scot and the players he is now overseeing singing from the same hymn sheet.
United may not have secured three points which even the most myopic Fulham fan could not have said they didn’t deserve, but the manner of the visitors’ vigorous front-foot performance at least provided some inkling of hope.
For that, Bamba was appreciative and having created a template, the United skipper says he and his team-mates must now follow in the same vein in the games and weeks ahead.
Do that and results will take care of themselves, in the view of the big defender.
On the pre-match importance of providing some positive for United’s supporters, Bamba said: “That’s what the gaffer said and what the boys said as well.
“We do it for the fans and ourselves and our family and needed to put a performance and that’s what we did.
“Hopefully, the fans will have gone home happy and we need to give them a lot of credit and more performances like that. “We said afterwards that’s more like it and we need to play like that every week. It doesn’t matter about the result; every Leeds fan wants passion, desire and everyone working hard. If we do that, we will be ok.”
A manic Monday which saw Uwe Rosler dismissed, Evans appointed as his replacement and the Football League then announce that United owner Massimo Cellino was banned for the rest of this season from being an owner or director of the club, reverberated among players and fans alike.
But while Bamba has only been at Leeds since January, he has quickly learned not to be surprised by anything – given what has already happened so far in another tumultuous year with events at Elland Road simply impossible to predict.
On unpredictable life at Leeds, Bamba said: “We are Leeds, so that is what happens here. I am not surprised and I don’t think anyone is surprised any more.
“But we love it at the club and that is part of it and we just have to deal with it.
“It is never nice to see Leeds on Sky and in the newspapers for those (off-the-field) reasons.
“People text you and say: ‘not again’ because obviously they are used to it.
“It is never nice, but we keep our heads down and come in on the pitch and do our job.”
On the pitch at least, Leeds at least averted the drama of a fourth straight loss to halt their Championship slide with a display at Fulham that was a timely one for those who turned up in blind faith to pack out the away end.
Confident the display gives United something to build on for the weekend trip to Bolton, Bamba said: “It was a terrific performance, the best of the season so far and I was disappointed we didn’t manage to get the three points. But overall, we are happy with the performance.
“We deserved better than only one point. But we take it, move on and hopefully we can build on that.
“The manager was happy with the performance like that and with him coming in a few days ago, he’s over the moon. But it’s only one game, we have to give that, week in week out.
“That’s what we need. We will take that positivity into Saturday and hopefully have a good result.”