Eddie Gray: Leeds United’ ‘big guns’ were outplayed on the day

Nahki Wells.
Nahki Wells.
Share this article
Have your say

Rochdale were the better team on Saturday. They outplayed us and they thoroughly deserved their victory.

I didn’t think it was going to be an easy game and to be fair to Brian McDermott he went with a strong team. All of his big guns were playing and it was just a disappointing performance.

Rochdale just took control of the game, they played better football and they kept the ball better. And it’s difficult to actually put your finger on why.

I know that after the game Brian said his players seemed to run out of gas but you are going to run out of gas if you are chasing the ball all the time because you are giving it away. It’s no fun running about if they have got the ball all the time and every time we got the ball we gave it them back.

There was a period at the end of the game where they must have had about 25 consecutive passes and we couldn’t touch it.

You’ve got to be able to keep the ball and every one of their players kept the ball better than we did. We made it easy for them and they looked terrific. It’s not nice to see and not nice to take and you can understand why the fans are upset.

And if you are talking about the players being jaded then Rochdale have got a smaller squad than us and they have played as many games as we have. I just feel we are jaded because we cannot keep the ball.

People forget that in the game the ball is the master and if you cannot master that you’re struggling. Yet there were a number of times on Saturday that we kicked the ball up the park aimlessly and I must say aimlessly. But you have got to try and play your way out of situations. Okay, Rochdale might have lost the ball a few times but I never heard Keith Hill on the touchlines shouting and moaning at them.

And you wouldn’t hear Brian McDermott moaning at our players if they were trying to play because that’s his philosophy in the game and the players have got to have the courage to play when things aren’t going well and the courage to try things.

The easiest thing in the world to do is just to kick the ball up the park but that’s not football. There’s no excuses and it wasn’t like the minnows scored a goal and they were hanging on. The minnows scored a goal and could have scored six. It’s disappointing and we need that bit of quality in the side now.

That’s what Brian needs and I think he will get the backing and I know he is working on bringing in players to the football club just now. And Brian will be bringing players in to the club to play, not to be squad members. I think Brian is very, very fair with his players but they have got to have the courage to play good football. And I think Brian will be looking at all positions for new players and I think ideally he would like three quality players in. If you can get three quality players into the football club that can make a big difference to the make up of the side and the way the team plays. Sheffield Wednesday are next and I’m sure Brian will be hoping he can get one or two faces in before then to give the side a boost because it needs a boost. There’s talk of Cameron Stewart coming in and the boy has got a good pedigree but we’ll just have to wait and see. I don’t know the boy personally but Brian will have had him watched and if he is the player that’s coming then Brian and his staff think he is the kind of player that is going to improve our team. Hopefully that will happen but you look last season and everybody was thrilled when Steve Morison came to the club.

But it never worked for him and so you don’t put too much pressure on players.

I know the boy Stewart has got talent and I think that’s all you can say. There’s also been talk of Nahki Wells but I’ve not seen enough of him though he looks good when he’s on telly and he looks as though he’s got a bit of talent. Overall, people can say that was an opportunity missed for us to progress on Saturday but when you see the game it wasn’t a missed opportunity. They were just better than us.

Personally, it was nice to go back to my old club on Saturday and talk to a few old faces that I’ve seen there. I was just a bit disappointed that we couldn’t put one over them and I was getting a bit of stick after the game.

ON THE BENCH: Samu Saiz.

Derby County v Leeds United: Saiz back on the bench as Cooper and Berardi both start