David Prutton: Leeds United are in great shape but they must be more ruthless in front of goal
SQUANDERING chances again cost Leeds United dear in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at home to Swansea City.
Will it ultimately again cost them promotion? I’d like to think not.
Hopefully in any way, shape or form when these kind of situations arise, because I am an eternal optimist you have got to just say this has happened and it’s an extremely disappointing outcome but we have got to take the positives from it.
But we know fundamentally that results are the only things that matter because looking on the back of last season and how close it was, the margin for error was absolutely tiny.
It means that Leeds have got to make sure that situations like this don’t arise too often – which is easier said than done.
It’s easy for us to just sit here and say ‘just convert your chances’ but success in elite football is determined by the people that can score goals and the people that can’t score goals, so they have just got to absolutely make sure that they learn from this.
The amount of shots that they had and the number of chances they created are all very positive things but fundamentally it doesn’t matter unless you get the ball in the net and that’s what head coach Marcelo Bielsa will be ramming into his players when it comes to training and with what players he has got left during this international break.
There is now obviously a lot of discussion over whether Leeds should start with two strikers in both Patrick Bamford and Eddie Nketiah and that could definitely work.
If you look at it from an averages point of view, the more strikers that you have on the pitch, the more chance you have got of them actually doing what they are there for, which is score goals.
That is a definite option but whether Marcelo wants to do that remains to be seen but from what we have seen over the course of last year and at the most important times at the end of the season, it’s a fundamentally good group of players.
It’s a group of players that want to learn.
But it just needs to be a group of players that takes this club back over the threshold and scoring the goals is the most important part about it.
You can lay the chances on but it’s up to the strikers to take them or whoever is on the end of them to take them.
Leeds are now one point worse off than they were at this stage last season and I think there are a lot of similarities to the team last year.
The start they had last season didn’t quite take people by surprise but we were all excited and we all wondered what they would offer.
It was something that was extremely entertaining but also successful and we all said back in pre-season that the biggest test this time would be that people would know what is coming. People will know how Leeds are going to play yet they will still need to do well.
After six games you applaud Leeds for what they have done but because of how well they did last season without achieving promotion, they have got to be looking at that and saying ‘we can’t get too carried away’.
It might look nice right now but it means absolutely nothing if come next May, you miss out again.
Swansea are top with Charlton second and they have both done incredibly well.
From the point of view of what we expected from Swansea, maybe we didn’t really know what we were going to get because Dan James has gone and Ollie McBurnie has gone and they have changed their manager with Steve Cooper coming in after Graham Potter left for Brighton and Hove Albion.
But Swansea have got that attitude to think ‘we know what the Premier League is all about so why shouldn’t we put ourselves firmly in the running?’. That’s what Leeds are going to have to compete against because all the pressure is on.
You can look at Charlton who have also done so well and expectations are maybe different with them, the same as they are with Swansea.
But Leeds have got to make sure they keep with these types of teams and every one in the top six.
There’s a golden opportunity for somebody to grab the division by the scruff of the neck but we have seen that over the past couple of seasons that this league is exactly like that.
It’s a division that screams out for consistency, for positive vision, for a bit of luck and momentum.
We saw Cardiff City go up in a different way, we saw Wolves go up in a different way, Fulham, Norwich, Sheffield United, all of these teams and there’s absolutely no set way of doing it.
Hopefully Leeds’ can take comfort from that – that in Bielsa we trust.
Hopefully that involves promotion at the end of the season.
Strength wise, if you break it down, on their day I don’t think anyone is as strong as Leeds but they have got to make sure that their day is more often than not.