Full Leeds United press conference transcript as Daniel Farke gives lengthy Bamford penalty explanation
Daniel, we always ask you about the team news but I think Crysencio Summerville’s problem with the shoulder was of interest to us the other day. How have you had to manage this and is he okay for tomorrow?
DF: No, it's not a big problem, he has [been] struggling with this since since a few weeks, shoulder injuries before each and every training session, each and every game, has to strap it, it's improving like normal a shoulder injury, it always lasts a while until you don't feel the pain anymore, but he's ready for the training sessions, also ready for the game so not a big problem.
It was also not the only reason why he was not in the starting line-up in the last game, I’ve spoke before he missed big parts of pre-season also, we have to keep in mind that especially in the recent season, he was not so much involved, not a regular starter, is also a bit of an injury CV and then he had also during the season already one muscle injury. Then in addition to that, he is also struggling with the shoulder, in the last game he was there with cramps against Norwich, that was reason all together that he was not in the starting line-up [vs Stoke].
Yes, he is actually at the moment in an outstanding form and [Norwich] was a brilliant performance. We don't have to talk about this, how much I like him and rate him and I spoke about my appreciation for him after the last game when he was in the starting XI, Norwich, about this but we also have to keep in mind we need him during the whole season and we can't risk him to be out for a long term injury because we're doing something stupid. Once players have a difficult period due to some injuries or missing parts of pre-season, then we have to be careful. I'm quite sure that in a few weeks, he will be also ready to play three games within seven days. But right now after his difficult start to the season, we just have to be careful but I don't think he's doubtful [this weekend].
So, do you think you’ll literally have the same 20 players that you had in midweek or anybody else new coming into it for you?
DF: Yes, we'll see. So there was a few knocks and hits after the game and once you have such a quick turnaround you have to make some late decisions but at least no major injuries [is] what I can confirm. So I think that more or less all the players are available.
Has Luke Ayling told you about his brilliant goal the last time the two sides met?
DF: I saw it, I saw it the other day.
Did he make you watch it?
DF: No. Out of coincidence, when he scored it the last time I watched it. Yes.
That was the last time the two sides met, these games have traditionally have a lot of goals or always have goals in them as well. You feel a bit of extra spice about this one?
DF: Yes, I think if you're, if you don't feel this extra motivation for a local derby then we have a problem. So definitely it's an important game for the for the club, for the fanbase. Obviously it's just three points. So, it's the same value for the table like all the other games, but yes, you want to have this special atmosphere and the rivalry and I think it's quite important in this game to be even a bit more motivated, both sides want to be successful, especially also think that Huddersfield after perhaps a difficult last game, they have the chance to turn the whole mood around so I think they will come highly motivated. But so are we. It's important to go really yes, in full motivation, last gear, into such a derby because we want to be successful.
Daniel, it's clear that you've bought into the club and the area since you've been here, but for a game like this do you ask people like Sam Byram who's been here before and played in these games about what they're like?
DF: Not too much because everyone in the club tells me anyway how important this game is and also the staff members and obviously also this among the players sometimes talk about it. But it's not necessary, I’m also most experienced enough to know what it means to be there in a local derby and I'm fully aware that it’s an important game for us.
One of the big talking points in the week obviously was Patrick Bamford missing and you said you'd speak to him. Have you sort of dealt with him and have you had to lift his confidence out of this game after that miss?
DF: It was not a big topic. Yeah, we had a short chat about the situation but that's it. Patrick is an experienced player, doesn't need my backing in the terms was definitely a bit difficult situation due to the circumstances and obviously also like a decisive moment in the game, but that's football. If we use a penalty, it would be a completely different story then Patrick is a big hero and we also get a brilliant away win, everyone speaks about great game management, difficult first half but then we exhausted them, the substitutes change the game and won the game perfect. Everything is right, yes. If you then miss the penalty and they use the rhythm in order to score out of this also a bit unlucky for us because it was more or less like a half own goal or something like this. It's obviously also like trying and disappointing but that’s football. We we have the chance next game to show reaction and win the points, that’s what we want to do.
Different players, different managers, different boat, what's your style and is it sometimes just to not talk about something or would you always broach something like that when players going through a bit of pain at the moment?
DF: No, it differs. You have to listen to your experience and also to your gut feeling how you handle this situation. Patrick is experienced enough and we don't have to go too much into details in this terms. It was difficult. If you want to have the full story. I'm a big believer that the coach decides who takes the penalties because what I hate most is that when they have discussions on the pitch, or it's unclear who takes the penalty, that's reason why we always decide before the game who takes the penalty and for this game, Joel Piroe was our main taker. And then you have also one or two options because you could always be that the player doesn't have a great day or sometimes when he's fouled, he doesn't feel confident to take the penalty, something like this. So you have then the second or the third choice. And you have it on the list, but you can't name all 11 players on the list because then you don't have to do it at all. So, you always have the main taker and then perhaps one or two other options.
For this game, Joel Piroe was our main taker and the problem is also like another one on the list is Jaidon Anthony because he's also great and good record taking penalties but he was also substituted and the only player - I don't believe also too much into players who come into the game that they take over a penalty, because I think it's always beneficial when you have played at least a few minutes and you get used [to the game]. So, I would for example, never substitute a player just 10 seconds before the end of injury or extra time just for the penalty shootout. Because I don't believe in this. I think players have to be involved in the game. So that's why I'm always struggling to name players who are substituted to take over a penalty.
But in this chance it was difficult, because the only offensive player who was still on the pitch was Georginio Rutter. Yeah, he was sadly missed the other night in the cup game [vs Salford] a penalty not in the best way. And we just had the back four and the two, holding midfielders on the pitch who were there. And I don't tell you a secret but the only one who was still on my sheet to overtake a penalty was a centre-back who has never taken a penalty in a competitive game. And for that, in this moment Patrick has already scored a few penalties said, ‘No I don't hide behind the fact that I missed also the last two. I want to take the responsibility and don't let a guy who also doesn't feel confident to overtake the situation in such a crucial moment to take this. No, I show responsibility I'm experienced player, I want to take this penalty.’
You can't blame them. So it's more of a sign of no, he doesn't want to hide. He takes the pressure. Yes, obviously, he then missed it and it's also like, instead of being the hero, has to deal with lots of criticism, but if you overtake responsibility that's what you have to do and for that, it's also quite normal, it's football. Yeah, sometimes you miss a penalty.
I told this on my first day when I started, everyone has a fresh start and the past is not important, everyone has a chance to impress. So, Patrick had the chance also to make his last couple of misses forgotten with being there and taking the penalty set. Sadly, he missed the chance. Next time a different player will have to overtake the responsibility. It's as simple as that. We can't change it for this game, it was a decisive moment, but it's football and for that we win together we lose together and it’s not right to point the finger to someone. I was happy that he was not hiding, that he wanted to overtake responsibility, and there was no natural penalty taker on the pitch anymore. And for that I can't blame Patrick. We also spoke about the situation that we will be a bit careful with the substituted player, or a player who is substituted in whoever takes penalties, it won't happen again or I decide he has to do this. But yeah, that was a tricky situation for that. I explained a bit lengthy why it was like this because I also want you to know the background a little bit why he overtook this penalty, but it's a topic anymore. Hopefully we convert and use next one.
The gaps now nine points to second, how much of a concern is that at this stage of the season? Or do you not really see it as a concern?
DF: The difference to Ipswich or whatever is not important to me. The table is for me just important after 40 games. Also don't like that you always have to be concerned about something, so if someone would have offered the position three after a really difficult summer break in the end of August that we will be in position three and in the top six with a proper point tally, I think many people would have settled that would be great if you're in this position.
So, I'm not concerned. We were on a brilliant little run, it's the Championship but sometimes there's a little setback but you don't have to take too much attention on point differences. Not that the point gap that we have in it watch the other teams but also not at other teams are ahead of us in the table, for us it’s just important that we deliver good performance good results. I think we were not at our best, especially in the first half in the last game and this is our only topic. I want to use our possession better than we did at Stoke but that's the only topic.
Is there any update on Stuart Dallas, Junior Firpo, Djed Spence?
DF: Junior is back in team training, Stuart at the moment is doing some individual training, Djed’s also in the last stages of his rehab. I hope both of them Stuart and Djed can return back to team training pretty soon and then Djed was also only for about eight weeks, it’s not like the first day back in team training he’s available for the games, he also would need definitely a little bit of training, but I hope that's pretty soon, in the next days, perhaps 10 days, 14 days, he'll return back to team training. But he hasn't joined us yet.
Sam's been so solid at left back we've forgotten to ask about his minutes and how he's how he's coping. Do you think it'd be alright for tomorrow given it's such a tight turnaround?
DF: Yes. Always someone we have to be careful also due to his injury record and yes, last time he was able to play three games in seven days, but each and every week is also different. So, we make a late decision with him. He came through games alright, there were a few knocks anyhow, we will make a late decision.
Charlie, Joe and Leo obviously aren't paying a huge amount because you’ve got such a good squad the moment. We haven't seen any of the 21s yet. Do you have any objection to playing them in the 21s? Is there a reason why you haven't kept them sharp in those games?
DF: Well, first of all, they were competitors also for us on the gameday squad and it's important that you have competition and the training for example. Also Charlie has played a lot on international level. We don't want to risk anything and you have always to take some individual choices which for example, Mateo Joseph was involved [for the 21s] because of lack of game time after his injury. I think it was quite important. Joe has played a few games also, Charlie has played several games during the international break and for that we have the feeling of this moment wasn't necessary that they have more minutes. It would be more beneficial to train with us on a really good training level but we will decide more or less from game to game and from from training to training what we do.
How happy you are Joe and Pascal at centre-back at the moment, they seem to be forming a really strong partnership and even when the team might be under pressure?
DF: Yes, overall very happy, more happy with a clean sheet, I would love really if we could return to this behaviour. But I have to say our defending overall in Stoke was quite good. Out of the game we didn’t allow them to have many chances, it was an unlucky own goal and we can’t blame Pascal to this. He’s had two already unlucky own goals, the other day at Southampton it deflected into the goal, so it is unlucky overall. In general, our defensive performances are why we’re in a really good position in the table, position three in the top six, one key is that we are rock solid at defending, defending well is always a basement. We like to attack, we are an offensive and possession minded team, but the basis is to be rock solid defensive and we are quite good there. There is space for improvement or we would sit in position one. We can do better and could do with another clean sheet but I give compliments to Joe and Pascal. But Liam and Charlie for example., when they’ve played have been involved in clean sheets. I am pleased with my centre-backs overall.
We all know what Championship is like, the key is not to overreact, do you have to work harder to make sure people don’t overreact?
DF: Yes, that is normal, it is important after each and every win, our supporters want to dance on the table and after a loss like we conceded at Stoke, you need to have the feeling the world goes down. I have the same feeling but I have to stay calm and more level. I don’t dance around with several wins in a row and I don’t overreact to a little setback. I am quite analytical in this way, sometimes it is fine margins because if we would had converted the penalty and scored the first goal, just one team would have won this game and everyone would dance on the table saying, ‘yes it was a difficult away game, first half we had to dig in but the game management was brilliant. What a depth in the squad we could rotate, we brought players off the bench and they decided the game,’ but sadly we didn’t convert the penalty and it is the other way around. That is quite normal for an emotional club it is important to stay calm. Last time this club won the league in a perfect way, it could be that I am wrong, but there were nine losses. Last time I was promoted with Norwich, we had six or seven losses, so sometimes you can have a setback, it’s the Championship. It’s a long a season and no team goes through it without a setback, without losing. This league is too competitive, like I mentioned, not the best league, that’s the Premier League, but this is the toughest league and if you don’t have a mindset to keep going after a setback and you don’t lose your confidence, you have a problem. The most important topic after a setback is to react in the right way and make sure there is not back to back losses. This is what we’ve done so far and why we are highly motivated to show a reaction tomorrow and win the points.
You’ve got the most important job setting the mood in the dressing room, but how important are your leaders to keep things going, whether it’s been good or bad?
DF: Yes I have spoken so much about this topic. It’s important, because the time of a one man show is over, you need a proper group who believes and sticks to your beliefs and values. Also the things that are important into the heads and hearts and souls of players, so you need your leaders in the group. I praised in the recent weeks Liam and Luke a lot, although they are not involved every second on the pitch we need them to lead this group, this is what they are doing in a brilliant way. We also have younger players growing into this role, we have a relatively young group, especially the starting line up is very young, so I am looking forward to having Stuart Dallas as a regular back in the dressing room and team training because of his experience. I like the younger players attitude, we have a good energy within the group and I also like that they are self critical, I sometimes have to make sure they don’t overthink too much and are still going into the games with rhythm, this is also quite important. For that I am really grateful and happy to have so many great characters in the team and experienced players like Luke and Liam.
And again, this might be overthinking on my part. But when you come to a new football club, how important is it that you get a feel of the area and the supporters and their mindset?
DF: Yes it is crucial, because we are playing for supporters, I mentioned this the other day. Quite often we are speaking about business and money and transfers, this is important, you have to lead a club smart and think about these aspects, it’s crucial to be successful. The most value and priceless is our supporters. This game is played for our supporters, football is a supporters game, if you forget about this value and think about business aspects we don’t get the meaning of football. I think it’s important, I mentioned several times, it’s not a phrase it is my belief, the club with our supporters is more important than any manager, player, board member, it’s a supporters club and they are the most important value for us as the club and in general for football. It’s important you keep in mind that you play this game for the supporters and in this sense is how I think the game should be played.
Do you get out and meet supporters, do you bump into them in supermarkets, do you feel the club by talking to them?
DF: Yes, I am not living on the moon, so obviously I am a human being and do normal things. I have to eat and go to the supermarket, so yes, there are many occasions we meet people who are showing their heart and soul of Leeds United. But in the city you can feel their joy when we are successful and feel the pain after a setback. Sometimes you have to go to the gas station, it’s important we don’t live in a spaceship, because we are all human beings and not different, we are just working in a privileged role and it is great to be allowed to work for such a club in a privileged role, but it comes with a big responsibility and we want to make our supporters happy.
Joel Piroe, I saw a comparison with him and Haaland, how happy are you with him and his goal return, and what other assets are his best quality, and how good can he become?
DF: Well in general I am pleased with Joel, I’m not sure if he’s a player like Haaland so I would label him different, but it’s good if he’s trying to learn from the best players in his position but you can’t copy anyone. It’s important to stay authentic and use your strength. Overall I have to say it is difficult, with all respect also to Swansea, it’s a good club and had good spells over recent years, but it is a different club at Leeds United. The size of the club, and expectations and ambitions, once we play games, it’s for each and every opponent more or less that they have two games of the season, home and away against Leeds United. It comes with a different responsibility on the games, he has to adapt to a different setup. He was more or less the main man at Swansea, the superstar, everyone has to play the ball to him. He plays together with some proper players with big values and good CV’s, so it’s a different topic. I spoke the other day about this, it’s different to score for a club when you are the main with 20 goals, or for a team in a different situation and setup. For this I am pretty pleased with him because his goal record, I think he's played nine or 10 games with five goals, a pretty good average. If he goes on with this average, even better. I would have bene preferred if he took his chances in the last two games, for example in Norwich he was there with a golden chance, but we are happy to have him as a quality player and also his personality is great, he’s a great teammate and guy. Yes, the last two games he was not his best but that is normal for an offensive player and sometimes you have a quieter game, we are confident he will produce something really good also in the upcoming weeks.