Leeds United: New players need time to bed in and learn their roles – Ritchie

Liam Cooper.
Liam Cooper.
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Ex-Whites striker Andy Ritchie has his say on all things Leeds United.

I think what Dave Hockaday said after the Brighton game is true. There are going to be days where everyone thinks things are great at Leeds United, but there’s going to be some pain as well.

Sometimes, it can be difficult with talk of all these players coming in; I think the rumour was six the other day.

It’s difficult enough getting your shape and first 11 right before the start of a season but when you have to it during the season, it makes it doubly difficult.

There’s not much time to play with and then next week, the League Cup comes around again and it is a case of not getting a full week at it on the training ground. You are just having to deal with recovery after a game and things like that instead.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a lot of players. But it’s nice to have them in before the season starts, so you can work on things a bit and fine-tune things. Not when the season is progressing.

With all the foreign lads such as Giuseppe Bellusci and Gaetano Berardi coming in, sometimes there’s other things such as international clearance as well to factor in. That can be a pain in the backside as well.

It’s going to be a difficult season for spells, I think and there’s lots of work to do before it can really turn around; it might do that a bit later on.

As for now, Dave is having to work with them really quickly to try and get them integrated not only into the team but their role in the side.

That’s difficult, sometimes it’s hard enough just bringing one into a side, not three, four or five!

You also have to wonder if Dave has seen a lot of these players too and knows what they can and can’t do. I don’t know if he really has.

As for Tuesday’s game, Leeds just didn’t get close to Brighton’s two major players Joao Teixeira and Danny Holla, for me.

They didn’t get anywhere near them in the first half and they just ran the game for them.

In the second half, Leeds turned things on their head a bit in terms of possession, but didn’t really create a chance and that was the problem.

Obviously, Souleymane Doukara is now injured and he’s a miss with his power and pace as he looked decent in the game against Accrington when he got the two goals.

Leeds lacked a bit of that the other night and I know Nicky Ajose has a bit of pace, but he didn’t come on until the second half where Billy Sharp faded a little bit after the adrenalin got him through the first game against Middlesbrough.

To be fair, he didn’t get a lot of service, I’ve got to say and he didn’t have any chances, to be fair, against Brighton

As for Liam Cooper, he looks okay from what I saw. He looked to defend quite well and was quite comfortable on the ball and was obviously highly-rated at Chesterfield and could well be a good acquisition.

I know some are saying Leeds are lacking width. I think Dave said after the game he felt that traditional wingers have gone out of the game and to a certain extent, maybe I agree with him.

But Leeds do have Dominic Poleon, who likes to play out wide and who has probably produced his best form out on the left when I have seen him.

As for Ajose, I don’t know whether he is a wideman or someone who is better coming in and playing in this ‘number ten’ role.

Looking at the Leeds side, one thing I think they are missing is pace.

There’s obviously Poleon, but he’s been a sub, while Ajose has pace, but is not what I’d call lightning. You need people like that in your side, especially up front.

I know a lot of tweets and texts were coming in on Tuesday saying there is no pace in midfield, but I didn’t really think that was the problem, to be honest.

I just think Leeds didn’t get close to people.

Speaking after the game and I think Dave agreed a little bit, there was a bit of a lack of leadership on the pitch, especially in the first half when experienced players should have been saying: ‘Listen, you go and man-mark him and I will mark Teixeira for ten minutes and we’ll see how they fare.’

Leeds should have just gone man for man a little bit.

But they had a diamond in middle and should have been able to cope really. But they didn’t go man for man and Brighton were able to knock it about brilliantly in that first half.

The two full-backs were pushing on and Holla just dropped into the hole and he was able to get the ball and turn and there was no-one on him. Teixeira was getting loads of space as well unfortunately.

Marco Silvestri (right) at Leeds United's training base in Austria on Tuesday.

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