Leeds United’s players were called into Thorp Arch for urgent talks yesterday with manager Brian McDermott fighting to reassert control after a 6-0 battering at Sheffield Wednesday.
McDermott and his squad held a meeting at United’s training ground to address their woeful form and attempt to draw a line under the club’s heaviest league defeat for 55 years.
An appalling loss at Hillsborough on Saturday – following on from Leeds’ dire FA Cup exit at the hands of Rochdale – prompted McDermott to bring his players and staff together after what he described as a “terrible, terrible weekend for Leeds United.”
“I’ve done that in the past and I’ll do it in the future,” McDermott said.
“You have meetings when things are going well but you have meetings when things are like this too.
“It’s a terrible, terrible weekend for Leeds United and it’s humiliating for all of us. But I’m part of the group and we’re all in this together.
“We had a good run and we’re up to 35 points in the league but we’re having a poor time now. We’ve gone from north to south and we need to get out of this together.”
Leeds dropped to 11th in the Championship on Saturday evening, weighed down by three straight league defeats, and a bewildered McDermott conceded that his management was under heavy scrutiny after a two hard and costly weeks.
United lost Matt Smith to a 46th-minute red card at Hillsborough but Wednesday were already two goals to the good and dictating a one-sided Yorkshire derby.
“I put pressure on myself,” McDermott said.
“I don’t want to be in the position we’re in but I try to look at it over a season.
“We’ve given ourselves a platform with 21 games to go but it obviously puts pressure on you as a manager, a squad and a group of staff if you get beaten the way we’ve been beaten.”
The Leeds boss, however, said he did not believe he was losing the faith of United’s board who handed him a three-year contract in April.
“I don’t see that,” McDermott said. “They’re good people. But that result’s a bitter disappointment and no-one’s more disappointed than me. It’s dreadful.”
UNITED’S HEAVIEST DEFEATS
August 27, 1934: Stoke City 8 Leeds United 1 (Division One).
November 7, 1966: West Ham United 7 Leeds United 0 (League Cup).
September 4, 1979: Arsenal 7 Leeds United 0 (League Cup).
February 9, 1929: West Ham United 8 Leeds United 2 (Division One).
March 16, 1935: Chelsea 7 Leeds United 1 (Division One).
March 3, 1937: Everton 7 Leeds United 1 (Division One).
April 8, 1933: Chelsea 6 Leeds United 0 (Division One).
January 11, 2014: Sheffield Wednesday 6 Leeds United 0 (Sky Bet Championship).