Leeds United: We need a ‘big-money’ partner to get best out of Wood – Whelan

Chris Wood.
Chris Wood.
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YOU can’t afford to miss chances like Chris Wood did on Saturday and I think that’s the main talking point.

The game was there to be won, it was a very nervous Burnley performance I felt but I also felt like we stretched them.

But when you concede after 58 seconds in a game, the plan that you had kind of goes out of action a little bit and you are chasing the game very early on.

But I felt that we controlled the game, I felt like we hurt them down the sides and I felt the wingers, especially Stuart Dallas in the first half, was very effective. We created plenty of chances and lots of corners, but once again, you have got to make these chances and corners count.

With their goal, I felt they should have been closed down quicker. Once that ball went to Scott Arfield I feel like Gaetano Berardi should have closed him down.

We didn’t win the first header with Sam Vokes as Sol Bamba didn’t win that header and obviously Andre Gray held the ball up and we didn’t make a challenge on him – we got close but didn’t really effect it.

Then, once the ball has gone out to Arfield, he had about two or three seconds where he stopped the ball, thought about it and then pulled it out of his feet and had a shot.

He should be closed down straight away, stop it straight away – any kind of shot coming in, by forcing him down the line. We were very slow to react and we paid the price.

With Chris Wood, I look back on his overall performance on Saturday and I thought it was an excellent performance.

I thought he ran the channels well, I thought he held the ball up and brought people into play and I thought he was out-jumping the centre-halfs and making it very difficult for them. The only point and the finishing touch to a good performance was a goal and he had two glorious chances which were easier than the one that he scored against QPR.

It’s on a plate, he’s in front of goal, and I think it just comes down to concentration. As a striker, it plays on your mind now and the weekend will have been very tough for Wood because, after the game, I am sure he is sitting there knowing he should have buried both of them.

Sometimes it’s hard enough when you get one chance and don’t put it away, but he had two glorious chances.

Look, no-one will be hurting any more than Chris Wood. He’ll know that he should have put them away and the first chance could have changed the course of the game for Leeds.

Maybe they could have gone on and won it if they had scored that one earlier on.

It wasn’t to be, but he shouldn’t be too down-hearted because he’s looking fit when he’s been out a while so he is trying to get his sharpness back as well. His overall play was good. But you are judged on scoring goals and, unfortunately, as a striker, you choose where to play and if it’s in a forward position you are going to get scrutinised.

I think that Chris Wood should be at Leeds United next season, but we do need to strengthen in that area, without a shadow of a doubt.

We are talking about key areas where teams are strong and you look at where people have spent their money and it’s in the striker’s department. That is where they have spent their money – Middlesbrough, Derby, everybody – they have been bolstered either by a midfield player or a striker and paid big money for it as well.

But you do get your rewards back from that, as we see now. The teams that have spent the money are sitting at the top.

I think we need more strength in depth in that area and I think with a good, fit Chris Wood alongside another quality striker, you have then got a special strike-force.

But I do think we need to get somebody that is going to be costing, that is going to be prolific and who has got a bit of pace as well, as I do like the mix-match that Burnley have got there.

They are 4-4-2 and they are sitting top of the league.

Look at Leicester, 4-4-2, top of the league and what have they got? Good strikers. A big one, a small one, playing off each other and there is no secret behind it there.

You can go whatever formation you want to go, but 4-4-2 is proving this year to be very important for teams that can play it properly.

Kalvin Phillips celebrates scoring Leeds' second goal of the game Picture by Simon Hulme

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