Leeds United: Terrific to tame Terriers but play-offs a different ball game – Gray

Sam Byram scores his side's first goal past Huddersfield's Joe Murphy.
Sam Byram scores his side's first goal past Huddersfield's Joe Murphy.
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THERE was a great finish to the derby at Huddersfield on Saturday but the game itself was pretty average.

Leeds started the game very well and played some good football for the first 20 minutes.

But once Huddersfield equalised, we never really played, right up until the end of the game when we had a couple of chances,

It was a strange match in a way but it was a great victory and it just keeps the momentum going. We’re on a little run, we’ve climbed the table and you’ve got points on the board so that gives the players confidence.

There were some good plusses in the game such as the big centre-back playing well – Sol Bamba. He looked a good acquisition, stong and quick, that’s something we need – that bit of pace. And he looked as if he was a good organiser as well. He was talking to people at the back.

It was a good victory for us as local derbies can always be quite difficult to predict. Our players hung in there and got their reward at the end of the day and I’m pleased that Billy Sharp scored and that Mirco Antenucci did well.

And I must say Sam Byram did amazingly well to keep the ball in play for the second goal. The ball was knocked down the line and it looked as if it was going out, but Byram kept it in amazingly and Antenucci supplied a great cross for Billy Sharp who is in there and sticks the header in.

I was pleased for Antenucci because he missed a great chance just before that to put us 2-1 up. It was nice he was involved in the goal because he could have left thinking ‘I should have won us the game.’

Overall, it wasn’t a great spectacle, it was just a tense local derby and we happened to come out on top but it could have gone either way.

And obviously it was not nice to see the injury to Tommy Smith. We were on the touchline when the air ambulance came in and I’ve never seen that on a football field before. I just hope he’s okay.

Marco Silvestri was at fault for their goal and from a cross like that you’ve got to do better. He’s had a good season but if he’s got a weakness then it’s in the air with corner kicks and balls into the box.

He’s got to be a bit stronger when he comes for balls but he’s had a good season and I’d keep him in goal.

I don’t think there’s any alternative really, no disrespect to anybody else, but I think he’s the main goalkeeper at the club.

We’re at home to Brentford next Saturday and we’re now five points off the dropzone and 15 off the play-offs but I don’t think we’re a play-off team and I don’t think Saturday’s game was a game between two teams that might get in the play-offs, let’s put it that way.

I thought it was quite an average game between two teams that are mid-table and I think that’s where we’ll finish.

I wouldn’t get carried away with Saturday’s win and the little run we’re on and say ‘we are going to get in the play-offs’ as 15 points is five games and that’s quite a lot. There’s no reason why we can’t get near the play-offs but to get there is going to be very difficult.

It’s transfer deadline day today and I’d like to see somebody come in out wide on the left hand side so you get that bit of width. Sam Byram is doing well on the right side and if you could get a bit of width on the left side it would be great.

But I don’t think anything will happen before the deadline. We’ve already got two players in and you can’t keep bringing players in when you’ve still got a big squad.

And I think we will hold on to our best players, for the remainder of the season, anyway.

We’ve sold former captain Jason Pearce to Wigan and he was a good servant to the club and a whole-hearted player. It was a little bit of a surprise him going but we’ve got a new centre-back in so that’s the reason.

We could afford to let him go. Bamba will start the next game, there’s no doubt about that.

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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