Blackburn away was a tale of one chance. It fell to Danny Pugh and he’ll wonder even now how he failed to take it.
Rovers’ goalkeeper got a bit lucky, saving the ball with the outside of his leg, but you can’t deny that the goal was at Danny’s mercy.
Score that and I think Leeds United would have gone on to win the game.
Yes, Blackburn claimed the only goal but I wouldn’t really class that as a chance. A corner into the box and a bundled finish are elementary things which United’s defence would expect to deal with. It was a soft way to lose.
Brian McDermott had it right when he said a draw at Ewood Park would have been a fair result. A goalless draw would probably have been spot on.
And to me that’s a slight worry. It was one of those afternoons where you found yourself wondering where the goals would come from if Ross McCormack failed to find the net.
Ross has been on a hot streak recently and we’ve all been praising him to the heavens but there’s always a danger of relying too heavily on one sharp forward.
You can see that situation at Blackburn where Jordan Rhodes often scores for fun but few other people back him up.
It’s often said that the best teams have a 20-goal striker in them but you generally find that clubs who go up from the Championship have two or three players chipping in with fairly big hauls.
Ross is well on the way to 20 and I’m confident that he’ll get there before the season’s out but the pressure is definitely on for someone else at Leeds to give him a run for his money.
The name I keep hearing at the moment is El-Hadji Diouf. He’s one of the most naturally talented players in the squad at Elland Road – maybe the most talented when you think about it – but he’s barely had a look-in this season and is struggling to get a seat on the bench. At face value it seems strange. You’d assume that Diouf is an automatic pick, someone with the ability to turn a game in an instant, but I can understand why he’s not figuring in United’s line-up.
Quite simply, our system at present doesn’t suit his style of play. With wing-backs and a three-man defence, the strategy for Leeds is all about quick attacking football down the flanks with the aim of supplying the strikers in the box.
Diouf has never been a wing-back and wouldn’t have the legs these days to fill that role. Not many players do. But if you watch him when he’s on the field, he likes to drift out wide and look for possession.
He’s not a forward who enjoys being pinned to the penalty area.
You can tell that by the fact that over the years he’s never been a prolific goalscorer.
His real strength is in creating chances and in a 4-4-2 system I could see how Diouf would fit in comfortably.
But 4-4-2 wasn’t working for us and the reason that Brian switched to wing-backs in October was very obvious.
Back then as an attacking force Leeds were weak.
The team weren’t creating enough, they weren’t getting enough crosses into the box and they weren’t scoring enough goals.
The squad was basically devoid of natural wingers and fair play to Brian for taking the plunge and deciding to find a solution.
Since the tactics were altered, we’ve been more competitive and comfortable. Granted, there will still be days when things don’t work and Blackburn was one of those but they’re an extremely solid team at home and I went there expecting a tight, scrappy match.
As I said at the outset, the chance to take home three points was missed when Pugh failed to punish them.
But the squad is set now until the January transfer window and the idea of playing with out-and-out wingers is meaningless until the club sign some.
In the meantime I’d expect Brian to stick with the formation the way it is and that might mean that Diouf finds himself on the sidelines for a while longer.
I feel for him in a way because he’s a nice lad and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything personal between him and Brian.
I also appreciate why some fans want to see him play.
He’s an entertainer and a crowd-pleaser – and beyond that he can win games.
But managers are paid to make decisions and not just the easy ones.
Managers are, of course, in the results business – and our results have been better since Brian McDermott changed things around.