Andy Lonergan has revealed the inquest into Leeds United’s shambolic derby defeat at Barnsley continued until late on New Year’s Eve – and he’s hoping that Monday’s priceless win over Burnley acts as a seasonal turning point.
United’s players came under a barrage of criticism from supporters following Saturday’s horror 4-1 loss at Oakwell, with United’s staff and players staging a frank post-mortem into the shocking performance in the dressing room.
Livid boss Simon Grayson – who accused his team of failing to “play for the shirt” in the after-match press conference at Barnsley – and his staff later continued the discussions at Thorp Arch, with Monday’s victory over the Clarets starting to provide some payback to fans for that desperate performance.
Keeper Lonergan, left, said: “The expectations here are massive. We had a meeting after the Barnsley game and came back to the training ground on New Year’s Eve and didn’t leave until late. “A few things were said, which you need and it was good to get it out. We all know what we need to do. It was probably one of the worst performances I’ve ever been involved in. I had some batterings as well last season at Preston, but with the amount of people who went to watch us (at Barnsley), you just felt like you had really let them down.
“If you read and listened to everything, it was a crisis (beforehand). But we won and now we’re one point off the play-offs. That puts things in perspective.
“I know Barnsley wasn’t a great result and it was a horrible feeling for everyone that went and those who played, but there’s always another game. The Burnley match could be a massive, massive turning point.
“I don’t know whether them going down to 10 men or not helped us, but in the end, we won.
“It was a huff and puff sort of game, we were trying and trying with out really creating anything. But as I said to the lads afterwards that own goal might have been the bit of luck we’ve needed this season along with a lucky, lucky, lucky 95th-minute goal.”
Meanwhile, Stoke boss Tony Pulis has hailed Danny Pugh as a “model professional” and is backing him to be a success at Elland Road following his full-time switch to United.
Pugh has signed a two-and-a-half year deal after a successful four-month loan spell.
Potters chief Pulis said: “Danny has been a magnificent servant to this football club, a model professional and a reliable performer who has made an important contribution to getting us where we are today.
“He’s a smashing lad who any manager would want to have in their squad, but I recognise that at his age, he obviously needs to be playing regularly at first-team level. So in making the move to a big club like Leeds, this is a fantastic opportunity to him. I am sure he will be an asset to Leeds.”