DEFENDER Barry Douglas admits Leeds United have been dealt a new year “wake up call” with the Scot backing his Whites to “dig deep, weather the situation and come out on top.”
Leeds remain top of the Championship but having suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time under head coach Marcelo Bielsa following a 4-2 reverse at New Year’s Day’s hosts Nottingham Forest.
The City Ground setback came just three days after a 2-0 loss at home to in-form Hull City which Leeds approached following seven straight league wins, two away from equaling an 87-year club record set in 1931-32.
With second-placed Norwich City only drawing 1-1 at Brentford on New Year’s Day following a 4-3 defeat at home to Derby County, Leeds sit two points clear of the top of the division with the Whites still holding a four-point cushion back to the teams outside of the division’s automatic promotion places, now led by third-placed Sheffield United.
United were six points clear of third-placed West Brom approaching Saturday’s clash with Hull but a 1-1 draw at home to Sheffield Wednesday and a 2-1 loss at Blackburn Rovers has dropped the Baggies down to fourth.
Leeds were the only team in the division apart from bottom club Ipswich Town to end 2018 and begin 2019 with losses.
But Douglas is also keen to look at the bigger picture at LS11 with the Glaswegian admitting bouncing back from adversity is part and parcel of the challenge facing a team seeking promotion to the country’s top flight.
“It’s back to back defeats if you look at it negatively,” said Douglas.
“But if you look at the bigger picture, it’s two defeats in nine games and if you would have said that at the start of the nine games, of course you would have taken that.
“There’s a lot of positives there.
“Back to back defeats is not what we want but this division is relentless and anyone can beat anyone on their day so it’s up to us to take a step back now.
“It’s a wake up call going into the new year, we know what’s expected so now it’s about digging deep, weathering the situation and coming out on top.”
FA Cup duty now awaits United with Leeds travelling to third round hosts QPR on Sunday before returning to Championship action next Friday with the visit of Frank Lampard’s Derby County who sit sixth and eight points behind the Whites.
Hull - Saturday’s victors at Elland Road - have been the big movers of late with the Tigers suddenly up to 13th following six-straight wins.
“It’s still early days,” said Douglas.
“It’s nice to be up there and be competing but ultimately it’s far too early to be drawing any conclusions.
“We will go back to the drawing board, work hard and get prepared for the next game.”