Leeds United: Whites are on cusp of becoming ‘third rate’ – Gray

Rodolph Austiin.
Rodolph Austiin.
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IT wasn’t good for Leeds at home to Wigan on Friday.

We put a lot of pressure on them but once again the failings were in the final third defensively and the final third attacking wise. We just never performed and we still look like conceding goals.

The first goal is obviously an error but it’s unfortunate and I think the boy Liam Cooper got himself caught in two minds as to what he was going to do with the ball. I don’t know whether his first intention was to chest it back to the goalkeeper or try and knock it away but it was an unfortunate goal to lose and it just gave Wigan a lift.

And the disappointing thing was that we had a lot of the ball and a lot of the play but it’s just that quality in the last third of the pitch that is just lacking.

We had a couple of good chances – Mirco Antenucci had a good chance and Sam Byram should have scored but they (Wigan) always looked a threat on the break, especially through James McClean.

And I think they exposed us there because our biggest attacking threat basically still came from the two full-backs. But with them bombing on, McClean was making good use of the space down the flanks and all they were doing was knocking long balls down the flanks, hence the first goal came through it. It was a threat all game for us and that’s why I still feel like we could do with a bit of width. It’s all right the full-backs getting forward but the first priority for defenders is to defend and I thought we left our centre-backs exposed to McClean’s pace.

All they were doing was whipping the ball where the full-backs would have been and McClean was getting on to nearly every ball with his pace. That was our downfall and they basically won the game through him being an outlet for them all the time.

The second goal was poor marking again but once again McClean ran in behind people and I thought he played very well. The disappointing thing for us is that’s consecutive home games where we have lost to teams who were starting the game behind us in the league. And there’s no doubt that we have got to be looking over our shoulders. It’s okay playing pretty football but it’s results that count and we still look like conceding goals.

It’s worrying and that was only Wigan’s second win in 17 or 18 games. They’ve been on a horrid run and for Malkay Mackay I think that’s his first win with Wigan. It’s disappointing and we have got a tough game coming up against Derby on Tuesday. They got back on track at the weekend and they will be going into the game looking for revenge for the 2-0 defeat at Elland Road. That will be a tough game and our away form has not been that good but what we’ve got to take into the game is the performance against Derby at home. We’ve got to go into the game with the confidence and the knowledge that we have beaten them and we’ve got to think we are capable of doing it again. But it will be a tough call as we have not got a good record at Derby and if we get anything out of that game I think we’ll have done well.

I don’t think we will go down this season but we’ve got to start getting results. The away form hasn’t been good so we were going into the game on Friday thinking it’s a great opportunity to pick three points up and climb the table. Instead of that we’ve been knocked down a couple of places but getting rid of Neil Redfearn is not the answer, not at all. I think Neil was very brave at the weekend making the substitutions he did, trying to change the game by bringing the strikers on.

And I thought it was working in the second half, and I think Rodolph Austin has got to play as he gives us that power and strength in the midfield area. He goes around people, he’s got physical power and he’s up and down the pitch and so I think he will come into the fold.

It will be interesting to see what Neil does at Derby and I think he will make a few changes. I think he’ll look at it and think ‘well it wasn’t good enough at the weekend.’ It never is when you are getting beat two nothing at home.

I don’t think Wigan were a better team than us and, in fact, I think Wigan were a pretty average side.

But they’ve still come away with a 2-0 victory.

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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