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Leeds United: Whites need to start converting stalemates into victories - Gray

IN THE THICK OF IT: United midfielder Michael Brown drives forward against Brighton. PIC: Steve Riding

IN THE THICK OF IT: United midfielder Michael Brown drives forward against Brighton. PIC: Steve Riding

  • by Eddie Gray
 

Friday night’s 2-2 draw at Brighton was certainly an entertaining game but I think we were fortunate to get a point.

I thought they played really well did Brighton.

They played some good football and they made it difficult for us but we dug in and we seem to have a knack for getting results when things seem to be going against us.

I thought Craig Mackail-Smith was terrific for them and the only thing he did wrong all night was miss a penalty kick – thank goodness!

A few things also went for us in the game and Michael Brown was lucky to stay on the pitch.

I don’t think there was any doubt about that and I don’t think Gus Poyet was too pleased about that after the game.

As far as our penalty decision went – some times you get them and sometimes you don’t – but it looked a bit soft, though it was a great penalty kick from El-Hadji Diouf and I thought our second goal was a good finish.

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I know people say that it was Luciano Becchio’s goal and it did take a deflection off him but really it was Michael Brown’s shot and you’ve got to say it was Michael Brown’s goal.

We were very fortunate to end up with 11 men and I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I think even Michael himself thought he would have been walking.

But we dug in, I was pleased that he stayed on the pitch and at the end of the day, come the end of the season, hopefully we might be able to look back on that point as one that has helped us get up to the Premier League.

It’s going to be a long haul for us, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that and I thought we were decidedly second best on the night against Brighton.

They played good football and they got in behind us too easily.

Mackail-Smith was very quick and we found it difficult to cope with him and they missed a few chances.

But in saying that we played all right, we dug in and what is true is that we worked extremely hard.

We cannot criticise the players for the effort they put in.

But in games to come we are going to have to play better because as I have said in the last few games, it catches up with you.

If you look at the points total just recently, although you can point to the fact that we have not lost many games, we’ve not won that many either.

That’s what catches up with you and you cannot keep drawing games all the time if you want to stay in contact with the top six and that’s what everybody is hoping.

We are hoping we can stay in touch until something is resolved at the football club and with that I mean resolved in terms of what is going to happen and what direction we are going to go in.

But that will take care of itself and the main concern right now is what happens on the pitch.

There’s a tough game coming up now tomorrow night at Burnley who have got a new manager and they had a good result at the weekend.

It’s going to be a difficult game.

People say we are lucky to only be three points off the play-offs, but I think this league is just like that.

I think people have just got to get used to the fact that even if you lose a game, you draw a couple of games and you win one game, you are still going to be there or thereabouts because there’s so many teams beating each other.

You look at Leicester getting beat on Saturday and they were the team in form – them and Cardiff both got beat.

Then there are teams up there playing quite consistently like Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace.

They are the teams in form.

But I think the league is going to be like that and if you can string a run of games together then it’s not that difficult to come through the pack and get into the top six as Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough have done.

When you see Crystal Palace’s record in recent games, they are the form team in the league.

They are going well and they were without a manager up until Saturday.

You look at Dougie Freedman as well and he’s gone to Bolton so you would think that they would go on a little run as well.

And while you can look at the league and say that we are only a few points off the play-offs, there’s another half a dozen teams like that who are below us.

There’s about two or three teams in the league that have got the same number of points that we have got.

But what we don’t want to do is to keep dropping points and all of a sudden you find yourselves seven or eight points adrift of the top six.

Then there’s always a lot of teams in between you and the top six.

We’ve also got Watford at home coming up on Saturday and you would like to think we would get six points from our next two games but look at Watford as they had a great result on Saturday.

The league is so strange – it’s a funny league.

But I must say that I thought that Paddy Kenny kept us in the game the other night.

It could have been a bit doom and gloom this morning if we had suffered quite a heavy loss at Brighton and everybody was feeling a bit down.

But we got a point at Brighton and from the players’ point of view they will look at that and think ‘well that was a decent point at Brighton and now we go to Burnley and we have got a chance of getting something there.’

Then we have got a home game against Watford.

But the only thing about that is that we said the same thing before we played Charlton.

We said ‘we have got two home games – Charlton and Birmingham and we’ll get six points’ but we got one point.

We’ve got to actually start performing and we keep on talking about how there’s a chance of six points.

But we’ve got to go out and make it happen.

The players have got to get out there and get the results as that’s what this game is all about.

Looking ahead, we have obviously been drawn against Chelsea at Elland Road in the League Cup quarter-finals and I am delighted about that.

I thought it was a great draw for the football club and you are playing against one of the top clubs in the country and the Champions League winners.

But Chelsea have got a tough trip away the week before in the World Club Championship and you can look at it from a point of view that we beat Everton who have been playing very well this season.

We knocked them out so if Chelsea decide to come here and play four or five reserve players or squad members then they could be in a for a tough night as well.

It will be a great night for the players, the manager and the fans and it’s a fantastic draw.

 

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