Peter Lorimer: Worrying times for all at Leeds United

CONTRASTING FORTUNES: Derby boss Nigel Clough points his way to success on Boxing Day, but United manager Simon Grayson (right) can only reflect on another disappointing result as his side drop out of the play-off zone.

CONTRASTING FORTUNES: Derby boss Nigel Clough points his way to success on Boxing Day, but United manager Simon Grayson (right) can only reflect on another disappointing result as his side drop out of the play-off zone.

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I’d be lying to the fans if I said I wasn’t worried about the current state of play at Leeds United.

They’ve seen the last few games with their own eyes and they’d be right to feel concerned about the way the team are playing. In all honesty, I’m concerned too.

We’ve had poor results against Watford, Reading and Derby County but it’s not just the results that bother me. Our performances in general haven’t been great and that applies to most of the last seven or eight games – probably stretching back to last month.

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They say that playing poorly and picking up points is the sign of a good team and Leeds did that against Burnley and Watford, but you can’t keep doing it week after week.

our most recent performances haven’t been good enough and things have to improve.

The biggest worry for me is the contrast between now and the early stages of the season. Back then, the team were playing good football and scoring plenty of goals. We were seeing bundles of chances and even though the defence weren’t quite perfect, you still felt Leeds could just about outscore any side they came up against.

I’m looking at the players now and wondering where the next goal is going to come from. There were scrambles against Derby and chances admittedly, but we don’t look like a team who are going to cut the opposition open at will.

Our 4-0 win at Nottingham Forest was ruthless but that scoreline stands out like a sore thumb amongst most of the others recently. Our attacking threat has dipped and I can only attribute that to a total lack of confidence.

There’s clearly the quality available to make things happen up front because goals weren’t a problem at the start of the season but self-belief is just as important when it comes to using the ball properly and doing the right things at the right times.

We’re joint seventh in the Championship table as things stand and, to be quite frank, I think we’re lucky to be there after the last couple of weeks.

if you’re going to criticise Leeds for being inconsistent then you need to criticise an awful lot of other clubs because no one outside the top four has shown any sign of putting together a season-defining run.

But the situation for Leeds is precarious. If this form continues, we’ll be playing catch-up at a time of the year when you really want to be right in the mix.

As we discovered last season, holding a play-off position for most of the season doesn’t guarantee you one on the last day but I’d still say it’s much easier to defend a place in the top six than it is to make up ground and come from behind when the pressure’s on.

I’m not suggesting that anyone starts to panic but it’s important to realise that the performances and the results need to get better, especially at home.

The most disappointing thing for me has been our struggle at Elland Road and the fact that we look so vulnerable there. The opposite should be true.

Our play-off position slipped away on Boxing Day and the priority must be to get it back as soon as possible.

It’s the least that we’re aiming for and we’re at the stage where the season could quite easily go either way.

Liam Bridcutt shadowed by Joey Van Den Berg during the previous meeting between the two sides at Elland Road in December. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

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