Leeds United: Result says more about opposition than Leeds - Gray

Matt Smith
Matt Smith
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THERE will not be many managers who win 16 nothing in their first game!

But to win 16-0 in their first pre-season friendly, Leeds were obviously playing against an amateur side in FC Gherdeina! You wouldn’t expect 16 nothing if they were playing in a practice match at Thorp Arch, even if they were playing against the under-18s. You cannot really judge or gauge anything by it and we’ll know more when we play stronger teams in pre-season but I know Matt Smith scored six and that Noel Hunt broke his duck with a hat-trick. But it doesn’t really mean anything in terms of what is going to happen this season and pre-season is just a run out – against an amateur side it sounds like, and an average amateur side. When we go to Guiseley I don’t expect we will beat them 16 nothing!

I heard that our new goalkeeper Marco Silvestri went in goal for the other side for the last 10 minutes and they probably wanted to give him a little bit of practice! But at least the game helped in getting the players sharper and fitter for the season ahead. It was also good to see Smith score six and he finished last season well and it was his first year of goals at this level. He’ll be stronger and fitter this season with a year under his belt of playing at this level and hopefully he’ll come to the fore. He is a handful, he’s a big lad and strong in the air so he’ll unsettle defenders which he did last season. He’ll be looking forward to this season and while I know he was only playing against an amateur side, it’s always nice for a striker to hit the back of the net. But I think the club will be looking to get other players in though we are all guessing a little about who is going to come into the football club. I believe we have signed a midfield player, Thomaso Bianchi, but I don’t know much about him – the same with the goalkeeper. Both players have got pedigree if they have played for the Italian under-21s. They have obviously got talent but the Championship is a tough league. It will be interesting to see them play but I don’t know anything about any of our new players and I don’t think anybody in Leeds does.

Obviously losing Ross McCormack was a big disappointment but it’s for a lot of money if the figures are correct – £11m. You would think that is good business for somebody who is 28 and it’s a difficult offer to turn down. Certainly for someone coming from the Championship, it’s a fair whack. No club likes to lose their best players but I think he was going to leave the club anyway so when you get that type of offer you’ve got to consider it. But you can only wish Ross all the best. He’s been our most important player but that’s in the past now and you’ve got to look forward. It will be interesting to see what the plans are to replace Ross and that’s down to the management team at the football club to see what players we are going to bring in so that we can set a side down whereby Ross isn’t missed that much. He scored nearly 30 goals last season, so it won’t be an easy task.

I think the club will spend some money but I don’t know what’s in the president’s or the new coach’s mind.

“And I don’t know if they think they can get players in without spending big amounts of money.

“I don’t even know what the goalkeeper and midfielder cost but you would imagine the club would invest some money in strengthening the squad.

It’s also been good internationally to see an ex-Leeds United player in charge of managing a team in the World Cup final in Alex Sabella with Argentina.

That’s terrific for Alex and talking about Argentinians it was sad to hear of the death of the great Alfredo Di Stefano.

He was probably main man that made Don Revie change the Leeds United colours to white.

He watched them in that all white strip and thought ‘that’s who I want my team to play.’

Di Stefano was the man that started the great Real Madrid revolution and he’s still the only man to score in five consecutive European Cup finals.

I remember when I was young watching him in one of his European Cup finals at Hampden Park in 1960 and what a player he was. He was up there with the best.

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