Ex-Leeds United man shares penalty pain with Patrick Bamford as he discusses modern-day consequence
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Patrick Bamford will be hurting from that penalty miss - I know that because I've been there myself.
In that sort of situation, standing over the ball 12 yards out when the referee has pointed to the spot, hindsight becomes a wonderful thing. If he scores and we go 2-0 up against Newcastle United, the confidence comes flooding back and maybe he goes on to score a couple in the last two games. In that scenario, it's a masterstroke. Rodrigo would have liked it, perhaps one or two others would have as well but Bamford put his hand up, in a pressure situation, and gave it a go and unfortunately he missed. That happens to even the very best, they don't score every single penalty.
I was on the end of a penalty miss that didn't get Torino promoted to Serie A. I was the only player to miss in the play-off final. You don't do it on purpose, you try your best to hit the net and it hurts, I can tell you. It won't be just because of that if we don't stay up, there are lots of things to point to across a whole season and the miss is just one of them.
Unfortunately, however, Bamford has now had to deal with a consequence that did not exist when I played for Leeds, when you would have the fans at the game and maybe the papers on a Sunday poring over your mistakes. Social media is a very different thing. It's something players have to be wary of and compartmentalise. Top players are very good at that, parking certain things and it wouldn't be a good thing to keep going to it and reading abuse that is despicable.
As fans we can be frustrated and disappointed but what we want is what the players want, to stay up this season, and that means supporting them no matter what. We can all have our say at the end of the season but now is not the time, now we have to get behind everyone, especially Patrick Bamford. What we should all want is to help him, as our number nine.
When I went to Italy it was every single day, in every single paper, so you learned to switch off from it and then go again in the following game and I would suggest Bamford does exactly that. If he comes back with a goal or two to help us stay up, it will be all the sweeter.
Saturday's team, with both Bamford and Rodrigo in the starting line-up, held some surprises. Having three in the middle made sense again, just to give us some stability to work from. Having Rodrigo playing wide right was a little surprising but in training Sam Allardyce will have seen who was ready and who was not, not to mention who he wanted on the pitch from the start. We looked solid. It was such an important game in which any sort of mistake was going to get punish and unfortunately at the end of the day that's what cost us all three points. Our own mistakes were to blame.
Over 180 minutes we were only a goal behind to two extremely good teams and who would have said that two or three weeks ago? Things certainly have improved. We had a fight about us, a strength of character and having gone through disappointments, missing a penalty to go 2-0 up and then finding ourselves 2-1 down, the question was how will Leeds respond to that? We know how they've responded recently but they were made of sterner stuff on Saturday. That gives you hope. Hope has to be translated into points, however, and we're running out of games. It was an opportunity missed. With that second goal we would have gone on to win the game.You have to commend the boys for how they dug in and you can take positives, but right now we can't just take positives, we have to take all three points.
We can go to West Ham hopeful, believing we can do it, because with the way we've set up in the last two games and with the spirit we've shown, a win is possible.
We can go there with a little momentum and some positivity, thanks in part to the Under 21s. Any kind of success in a football club is great, it rubs off on everyone. Anything that can make the week a more positive one is important. You grab any positives you can at times like this. Those lads have done extremely well, there are really talented young players in there strutting their stuff and growing in confidence. Whether they'll be ready in the short, medium or longer time, it's important that there is a conveyor belt bringing them through. The crowd that turned up, a great crowd at that, saw a great game as we won promotion. It will form part of all the positivity we take with us to London.
The problem for me is that I'm just like every fan, I can see every permutation happening. I can see us staying up, I can see us going down, I can see it going right to the last kick of the Tottenham game. I just don't know how it ends. West Ham have got a big European tie on the Thursday and you wonder how they will respond to that, given they are just about safe. We have to really show how badly we want to take three points and make it extremely difficult for them. In that respect I can see us getting something from the game, then you look at Tottenham and there's a possibility there. We have to turn possibility into reality. I'm still hopeful. I look at the other results, Leicester are really struggling and we are in a stronger position than them. There might only be two games left but there is still so much to play for. There's still so much to hope for.