Caretaker manager Neil Redfearn believes a lack of professionalism is running through his players, having watched them slip to a 2-1 injury-time defeat to Brighton.
Alan Navarro’s 91st-minute winner ensured the Seagulls remain unbeaten in 2012, but condemned the Whites to a sixth home defeat of the season.
That statistic alone is one of the reasons why Redfearn has been asked to mind the shop by chairman Ken Bates, who last week dismissed Simon Grayson as manager amid fears that the club’s promotion hopes were fading.
With Bates promising to take his time over an appointment, Redfearn, a lifelong Leeds fan, has effectively been given a four-game interview to prove his credentials, although the presence of Keith Curle, long-term assistant to bookmakers favourite Neil Warnock in the stands today, could suggest the decision may already be out of Redfearn’s hands.
The game was something he could control, though, and he looked to have followed up last weekend’s 3-0 win at Bristol City with a point when Luciano Becchio cancelled out Craig Mackail-Smith’s opener.
But Navarro’s late effort would win it for Gus Poyet’s side, leaving Redfearn to assess the reasons as to why he has been asked to run the side for the time being.
“Conceding two so late on is a trait that has run through this season and you can understand why it’s been a problem,” he said.
“Clean sheets win football matches, as daft as it sounds. What they (the players) don’t realise is, this is a fantastic club and a fantastic way to earn a living. I need to instil that in them. The problems that have been there in the past are there to see.
“It’s a lack of professionalism and that’s something that has run through for a while.”
Redfearn knows he has Tuesday’s trip to Coventry and next Saturday’s home meeting with Doncaster to come, and is confident that today’s defeat will not have harmed his own chances too much.
“My position doesn’t change,” he added.
“If I looked at it as though I had to win every game I’d never get up in a morning. I’m doing my best for the club. There are problems there and that’s why I am sat here. If I can help in any way, then great.”
While Redfearn and Warnock head the betting to replace Grayson, Poyet is another to have been linked with being his successor, having worked at the club before and also being a friend of Bates.
The Uruguayan played under the veteran owner at Chelsea and was Leeds’ assistant manager during their memorable recovery from a 15-point deduction in 2008.
He was keen to express his happiness at his situation at Brighton when asked if he would like to return to Elland Road, but stopped short of ruling it out entirely.
“I had a great time here and when I came out of the tunnel and looked to the left (at the Revie Stand) it was unique. There are not many places like that.
“I always try to be honest and I try not to think about what managers will go. But Leeds is a special one. I prefer to wait. If the day is coming, it is coming and then I will think.
“I am lucky at the moment. It’s a good time to be at Brighton, I make a lot of decisions.
“I say there is no chance (of wanting to leave), but it is difficult to say when the place (Leeds) is so spectacular for me.
“It would be great. I would love, in the future, to manage Leeds. I would love to come back, but at the moment the timing is not quite right. For those who want me back, I am sorry.”