Andy Ritchie: Crunch time of season fast approaching for Leeds United

Divock Origi celebrates putting Liverpool in front at Anfield. Picture: PA.
Divock Origi celebrates putting Liverpool in front at Anfield. Picture: PA.
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i thought Leeds did very well in Tuesday night’s EFL Cup quarter-final at Liverpool.

I stepped out of the room for four minutes and when I came back in they were 2-0 down!

Garry Monk locks horns with Steve Bruce at Elland Road on Saturday night.

Garry Monk locks horns with Steve Bruce at Elland Road on Saturday night.

I thought the game might have been going to extra-time before that. Okay, Leeds had to defend as well in the first half but they had some chances themselves and, just before they went behind, they hit the post.

They could have easily taken the lead but it was a tough game and it was a tough ask as Liverpool are playing excellently at home and they are playing not too shabby away. Leeds knew they were up against it and it was one of those games which made for really good TV.

There was obviously a record-making goal as well through Ben Woodburn which I’m sure Leeds won’t be pleased with – but it was great for the young lad.

I was speaking to a Leeds fan the other day and he was saying it was great to be there but we want to be at those places every single week. He said that’s got to be our goal and, hopefully, we can do it this season. That’s got to be the ultimate goal.

It’s an important stretch of games and they need to be taking points off the teams that are around them if they want to stay in the play-offs

YEP columnist, Andy Ritchie

It’s nice to go these places – the likes of Liverpool – and pit your wits against them and see how your players can do.

But in the end it doesn’t really matter. It’s about getting there and staying there permanently and playing teams like Liverpool twice a season.

Leeds now play Aston Villa in the league at Elland Road and I think Garry Monk will be saying to them ‘go out there and show them what you can do.’

They did that at Liverpool and I think they will be ready to do so again.

After Tuesday’s display at Liverpool the fans can be very proud of the players and the players can be very proud of themselves.

Everybody thought that Aston Villa would be up there this season but they didn’t have the greatest start. But Steve Bruce has come in and he’s really got them going again.

With Steve, you know it will be a difficult game – no doubt about that – but Leeds have just got to believe in what they are doing. They are playing very well at the moment and they shouldn’t be fearing anybody because of the form that they are in and I think that showed in the game at Anfield the other night. Leeds then go to second-placed Brighton next Friday evening and then third-placed Reading are next up and while I’m not sure that it’s make-or-break time, it is certainly a crunch set of fixtures.

If they don’t get a few points out of this then they could find themselves out of the play-off positions and battling to get back in.

It’s an important stretch of games and they need to be taking points off the teams that are around them if they want to stay in the play-offs and it’s those teams that they are going to be playing.

The Christmas period is always crucial for teams and this is a really is big festive spell for Leeds.

I think Garry will be saying to the players, “we know what we want to do and we know where we want to be” and he might have set them goals or certain points tallies – I don’t know whether he is like that.

I’m sure he will have an image in his mind of how they are going to tackle these games and he will certainly need the full squad to be available and hopefully they won’t pick up a lot of injuries.

There’s obviously been talk of the Leeds takeover and investment this week – talk of a 50-50 split between Massimo Cellino and Andrea Radrizzani – but that doesn’t sound like a thing Mr Cellino would like!

I would say he is the one who wants complete control on everything, so it doesn’t sound like something he would go for.

But we’ll just have to wait and see and there are so many teams at the moment that are being bandied around about takeover bids and people coming in.

At my old club Oldham there is talk of maybe Chinese interest, but I don’t know how true that is.

But if Leeds are there or thereabouts in the January transfer window then there’s got to be an injection of money to strengthen the squad.

It might be that that is a thing that Mr Cellino might be looking at from this deal as well.

Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald.

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