It’s the easiest thing in the world to say that a club will be fine, that there’s no threat of relegation, but no-one at Leeds United can afford to be thinking like that.
Look at the facts: the performances aren’t good, we’re struggling for goals and we can’t stop the opposition from scoring. If we were sixth in the table and results were drying up then the story would be very different but we’re 17th and we’ve played 18 games. This is a serious situation.
It’s hard to be positive about the Queens Park Rangers game and in fairness to Steve Evans, he didn’t try to be afterwards. The way he saw the game was the way I saw it. Players weren’t being brave enough or performing to as high a level as they can. We created next to nothing and 80 minutes had gone before Lee Erwin produced our first shot on target.
Clubs have bad days. That’s a fact of football. Hell, even in the peak of Don Revie’s era, there were games where it didn’t quite happen for us. But those were generally one-offs and I go back to what I said in this column last week. If truth be told, this squad haven’t played well too often this season. And those displays are catching up with us now.
I understood the frustration of the supporters at QPR. I think we were all frustrated by what we saw. What I didn’t agree with was the criticism of Steve in the second half. He’s only been head coach for seven games and quite frankly, it’s not a great deal of time to turn around a side who were struggling when he took over.
Yes, you look for a coach to make an immediate impact – and he’s got us a few results so far – but there are obvious problems with areas of the team. We didn’t look like we had enough goals in us while Uwe Rosler was here and without the arrival of new players that wasn’t ever likely to change. Our defence kept a couple of clean sheets against Cardiff and Huddersfield but Cardiff seemed to have nothing up front and Huddersfield were denied by some good saves from Marco Silvestri.
Credit to Silvestri for his performance at QPR. I don’t think he’s had a good season but a couple of his stops down there were top-notch. It kept the scoreline down, not that it mattered in the end, and his professionalism in the circumstances was an example to others.
We’re at the stage where the players need to start earning their corn and earning their money. Some of them are on a bloody good wage and they have to realise that if the form doesn’t pick up soon, our Championship status is going to be under threat. This is where we need to see some bravery and some fight.
I’m not saying it’s easy to go from a poor performance at QPR to a stunning performance against Hull City. It takes time to get into a groove and it takes a run of results to truly find your rhythm.
But there’s absolutely nothing stopping these lads from rolling up their sleeves, giving all that they can give, showing desire and total determination. Do that and it will absolutely earn results. They might not be pretty results but it’ll dig out points all the same.
To be perfectly honest, I’m worried at the moment. I see the need for changes to the squad in January but I’m well aware that January is six games away. That’s 18 points to play for and we have to get a good, solid return from those.
I know things are tough but it’s imperative that we try to stick behind the team in the weeks ahead. There’s a lot to be disappointed about, a lot to be frustrated about, but the situation won’t improve if people are fighting each other. It’s got to that point where we all have to realise what’s at risk if we don’t find a consistent run of form. We’ve been a little lucky so far that most of the clubs below us, with the exception of Rotherham, are struggling to make up any ground.
As I’ve said many times in the past, the players have a duty to raise the crowd. Support isn’t unconditional, or not if the fans don’t feel that the players are giving everything, but there’s no doubt either that players hit a low point when things aren’t going well. All of us can play a part in turning this around and there’s no time like the present.