Leeds United: Let’s go and ruffle the feathers of big guns – Ritchie

Lewis Cook celebrates his goal against Fulham.

Lewis Cook celebrates his goal against Fulham.

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THE situation that Leeds United find themselves in will probably tell you a lot about the players there in the coming weeks.

If some of them start to down tools, with the season over competitively, that will give a bit of an insight into the mindset of individual players.

From that and how they perform, you can use that to make decisions in the summer in terms of deciding who, as a manager, you know will produce for you next season.

I think we knew what the scenario was with Leeds a few weeks ago in terms of what they could achieve in the league.

This time now is a gauging tool for Steve Evans to have a look and see who is up for showing what they can do between now and the end of the season to get as many points as they can for the club.

I would be saying to the players: ‘Listen, let’s just try and ruffle a few feathers from now to the end of the season. We know we are not going to get into the play-offs, but are okay (from trouble) unless we are rubbish. Let’s put the cat amongst the pigeons for a few of these high-fliers.’

Also some teams might realise, that if they are in the same league as Leeds next season, then they might have a tough time of it.

Steve is the kind of manager who will demand that everyone pulls their weight and is ‘at it’. He is clearly someone who wants that togetherness as a squad and siege mentality too.

Specifically, when Leeds are at home, they desperately need to get that again and that is what they need to concentrate on for the rest of the season and make it difficult for teams.

For me, team spirit is still a massive facet. You look at the likes of Leicester City and Tottenham this season with the hard work they are putting in and along with talent. That is also what got the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United to where they were for me. Barcelona currently marry the hard work with three magical players up front.

It is all based on hard work and I do think that ethic went out of the game a little bit for a time, but with Spurs and Leicester, maybe it is coming back in with the value of a team ethic and team spirit back in fashion.

I think all successful sides need that. It is partly what helped us get promotion in my time at Barnsley as we had such a fantastic team spirit; something which me and Rick (Holden) were bred on at Oldham. That atmosphere was what we tried to get at Barnsley where everyone was working for each other.

I still think that really goes a long way, I really do. We had that spirit at Leeds too.

What has maybe disjointed things a little bit in our game is the lack of English and British players in the game now. Sometimes, some of the foreigners can have a bit of a ‘clique’ and maybe it was a bit easier in my day and when we were at Barnsley.

If I was back in management, I would treat that team spirit and hard work aspect as a really major thing. As a club, we would be all together and things like getting the lads going out together paintballing, ten-pin bowling or whatever all builds spirit for me.

I have obviously seen Scott Wootton’s unfortunate own goal in the FA Cup at Watford and for me, the first thing that struck me was that it smacked of a lack of communication.

There was nobody behind him and all he had to do was let it run out of play and go behind for a goalkick. But nobody said anything to him.

Scott did what you actually should be doing which is try to clear danger, but unfortunately he knocked it into his own goal.

If he had people around him shouting and saying: ‘Leave it’, it might have prevented it. I am not saying it should have been the keeper saying it, it should have been the other defenders for me.

It was disappointing as Leeds probably did enough for a draw at least.

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