Leeds United: Shambolic Whites are devoid of courage - Gray

Leeds United's fans are left feeling glum after Bolton's fourth goal on Saturday. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Leeds United's fans are left feeling glum after Bolton's fourth goal on Saturday. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

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SATURDAY WAS a disaster and it just never happened for us.

We didn’t created enough and the first half was pretty dire, from both sides. But I always felt that Bolton were controlling vital areas such as the midfield area and their big centre forward Lukas Jutkiewicz played well and caused us problems. But the second half was just a disaster. Defensively we were a shambles and you are not just looking at the back four.

Jason Pearce wasn’t playing and he’s been doing well recently, but that’s what you have got a squad for though my personal opinion is that clubs carry squads that are far too big and it’s killing the game.

We had players that weren’t even playing on Saturday that are costing the club a fortune and to me you should have 18 players and then use the boys from the Academy. But we just didn’t perform on Saturday.

It takes a very mentally tough player to play at Elland Road because the expectation level is there. We had nearly 29,000 there on Saturday and that tells you everything about the club – the fans expect and you’ve got to be able to cope with that as a player. And at the present time I just don’t know if we can overcome that confidence thing. It’s something that Brian McDermott will have to work on and the players will really need to pick themselves up because it’s a difficult thing to go out and play when you have just lost 5-1 at home and the crowd have been pretty restless. But I didn’t like the crowd jeering when Jimmy Kebe got taken off on Saturday. I don’t think that’s right in football. He’s part of Leeds United Football Club and people should support him. That’s my view, but I can understand the fans’ frustration because we have not performed.

You’ve still got to keep working away and digging in and hoping that you can go on a run. But the players have got to prove that they are capable of doing that.

I heard that Massimo Cellino was angry on Saturday but I think Brian McDermott will be okay and, as a player, I was always taught that the most important thing in football was having the courage to play.

If you make a mistake you have got to have the courage to try again but it got to the stage on Saturday where people weren’t even trying things. As a footballer you get paid to play in front of crowds and to show your talent and you’ve got to have the courage to show it. If you are a winger taking on a full-back and you lose the ball then it’s no good the next time not trying to go by him again. You’ve got to have that courage and knowledge that if you get by him and get to the dead ball line you have got a chance of creating a chance for your side. Once again on Saturday, our best hope of scoring a goal was from a set play.

Everybody is going to have an opinion on Brian McDermott but I’m not going to comment on the manager situation whatsoever. Brian is there to do a job for the football club and I know he’s got the confidence to do it. But like all managers, you stand and fall by results and Brian knows that so we’ve got to start picking the results up. The players have got to improve and prove that they are capable of taking the club forward and that’s what Brian will be looking for against Reading on Tuesday and between now and the end of the season.

I don’t think you can say that this season is over in terms of reaching the play-offs. But you’ve got to be realistic and say we’ve not done anything to prove that we are good enough to get anywhere near them so we’ve got to improve. If we don’t improve we’ve got no chance of getting there. It’s disappointing because you want the club to do well, you want the players to do well and you want the manager to do well.

The club has had great times in the past – Don Revie’s time and then Howard Wilkinson and even David O’Leary in the Champions League. You just hope the club do well but that’s if the players have got the talent and all players – I don’t care who they are – they are all vain about their talent. If you said to our players ‘do you think you are as good as so and so’ they will go ‘oh yeah we can beat them on our day.’ Well what is your day? You’ve got to make your day in football.

Aitor Karanka.

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