Advantage back with Leeds United and focus now falls on 'hidden' Whites star - Tony Dorigo

Christmas has felt really strange without Leeds United playing due to the Liverpool and Aston Villa fixtures being postponed.

By Tony Dorigo
Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 4:45 am

Even for me not going to a game, it just didn’t feel right.

You know that the festive period is a difficult part of the season and that the atmosphere for those games is going to be fantastic.

But, at the same time, I think the boys understand the position that we are in with injuries and what have you.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM: Leeds United have had little to celebrate since Raphinha's late winner against Crystal Palace, above, but ex-Whites star Tony Dorigo is confident his former side's fortunes will turn back around. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images.

And even though the last two games have been postponed, I still think this is a really important period to just try and regroup and get as many players back fit and concentrate on whatever the next game is, hopefully Burnley at Elland Road in the new year.

As players, you get all sorts of different things thrown at you all of the time and you just need to handle these situations.

It’s like the kick-off times.

You can think ‘I would like to play at three o’clock on a Saturday’ but it doesn’t work that way anymore.

Lots of stuff is always thrown at you and this is just another case of that.

I am sure the boys will just take it in their stride and, whenever the next game is, they will be absolutely ready.

From the club’s point of view, I think it is certainly more ideal that we have got this little period to regroup.

It’s obvious what the Premier League wants to do.

They just want to get as many games on as possible, as clubs do too, and you can see why because of not just TV but also the fixture list going forward and when teams are going to play.

For the ones that are in the Champions League, it does get extremely complicated.

That’s just the nature of the beast now.

But, for Leeds, of course having these last two games postponed was the right thing to do.

We have talked about the Arsenal game previously and how many players we had out.

Only Diego Llorente on the day failed the Covid test but I said at the time that we could have done with a few more being out because playing the game was not to our advantage.

Some clubs may have say five Covid cases but we have got 10 injuries and it didn’t seem quite right to play.

But what can you do?

It’s not going to be fair for everyone and there are going to be some winners and losers, even with this sort of thing.

In that sense, with the Arsenal game we lost and maybe having these last two games postponed redresses the balance.

Coming to the end of another year is always a time for reflection and we must think back to this time two years ago and seeing where we were.

It’s amazing where we are now and what we have done and we are still five points away from the bottom three.

It’s been a wonderful time and it’s lovely that we are now being talked about in those terms of being back in the big time and about the size that we are and some of the performances that we have had.

Clearly, recent games have been disappointing but, as much as we don’t like to have excuses, I think there are one or two reasons why we will pick up and get better and be absolutely okay.

Overall, I always thought this second season was going to be a lot more difficult and we have just got to make sure we stay in there and hang in there.

We have got the players when they are all back fit and playing to be absolutely okay but this is a tough period and nobody is under any illusions.

We have seen the Sheffield United situation and what have you but a lot of teams have had this experience and we have got to be good enough to get through it.

I think we have got the team, if we put our best team out, to be absolutely fine.

If so, we will beat plenty of teams in that bottom half of the table and that’s what we need to do.

But, clearly, if we keep having 11 or 12 injuries all the time then anyone is going to struggle.

January is going to be interesting to see what the club does in the transfer market but I think the most important point at the moment is that everyone is still nice and positive and that Rob Price works his magic in that treatment room and, hopefully, gets people out of there and back on the pitch.

Everyone thinks it’s the players that go out there and do the business and it absolutely is.

But there are so many other people in the background that have their input and you don’t see certain people - the coach or the goalkeeping coach or the set-piece coach and all the physios and masseuses and all that sort of stuff.

Now the light is on the physio department, simple as that, and Rob Price is probably working absolute overtime and trying to get as many players back as quickly as he can.

Now it is his role to help out the team and that’s just the way that it goes.

I am sure he is working the hardest that he can.

A message from the Editor:

Leeds has a fantastic story to tell - and the Yorkshire Evening Post has been rooted firmly at the heart of telling the stories of our city since 1890.

We believe in ourselves and hope you believe in us too. We need your support to help ensure we can continue to be at the heart of life in Leeds.

Subscribe to our website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app.

With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Click here to subscribe.

For more details on our newspaper subscription offers click here.

Thank you Laura Collins