Jack Harrison reminder and Leeds United positives outweigh slower start than ideal - David Prutton
Leeds United are on just three points after five games played and that’s worrying IF it keeps going on.
That sounds very ‘commonsensical’ and straight forward but there’s a lot of very good things to take out of Friday night’s 1-1 draw at Newcastle United.
There were also things that are stereotypically Leeds such as having lots of chances in the first half, dominating the game in the first half and not killing the opposition off.
And you would always presume that, at some stage, Newcastle would come back into it when you have got someone like Allan Saint-Maximin in your team.
He is very capable of causing a lot of destruction to the opposition so that’s what Leeds had to be careful of.
There were still plenty of positives and I presume that, if you are a fan, the general consensus is one of ‘in Marcelo Bielsa we trust’, of course, and that it feels like it’s going in the right direction.
But it’s going in that direction a little slower I think than the fans would like.
Leeds are yet to put a complete performance together this season or one that lasts for at least 70-odd minutes of a game.
They have got players out injured but that’s like every other team in the league and you have got to deal with having players out.
I hate to buy into that stereotype of players getting to a certain level or over achieving and then reverting to somewhere like the median of where they should be.
But that’s the challenge that we have always said about making a choice not to make wholesale changes to the squad which they have not done.
Leeds have made some good additions but the lads who have done the majority of the ‘donkey work’ for the last three or four seasons have been relied upon heavily.
I am sure that they see that as a challenge but this is the Premier League and we all know how unbelievably brutal it can be and that’s where they have got to get to, sooner rather than later.
If you get a team that gets promoted and finishes where Leeds finished last season, it means that, more often than not, they managed to answer the question and more often than not they got the correct solution. It’s set up intriguingly.
You have got to look at key players who are out and Raphinha then coming off with what Marcelo said was a hip issue.
Jack Harrison also missed Friday’s game due to coronavirus and his absence showed how important Jack has become to Leeds because they missed him,
He is good going forward but he works his socks off going back too.
Daniel James started on the left wing instead and what we have got with him in fits and starts is a player that we know is capable at this level.
It’s just consistency that is being asked from him at this level. He burst onto the scene with his move to Manchester United but he didn’t manage to keep that place and cement himself in the team.
There’s no disgrace in that at all but you would feel it would be at Leeds where he makes his name in the Premier League. It’s still early knockings for him.
Defensively, Leeds had personnel not available and last season we saw them put together a defence with players playing slightly out of position but doing perfectly well to manage that.
That can work in small doses but that can’t be a season-long approach. Leeds still have only three points and have plenty of players out injured but there are plenty of games left.
But the danger comes with being too comfortable and thinking there are loads of games left. Suddenly you get into December and think ‘blimey that has gone quickly and look where they are’.
When you look back at last season, straight away you looked at that run of games in April with fixtures against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United in succession.
But it felt like they had got all the tough stuff done before then anyway.
It meant that anything they picked up such as the victory at Man City became a wonderful bonus that just put a cherry on the end of the season.
That’s where they have got to find themselves.
In previous seasons we have seen teams that have managed to get up there and look relatively secure and then had a bit of a flirt with the bottom.
Burnley is one that sticks out and look at what they have done - consolidated at the top level and managed to be an example.
They are a club that you have to respect because of how their manager has set them up to survive in the Premier League.
After last season, there was always going to be talk from the more fanciful people of pushing on into Europe and then the Champions League.
But, in the first couple of seasons, you make sure that the next season is boxed off and the hard work for that is right here and right now.
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Thank you Laura Collins