Neil Redfearn warned Leeds United’s players that they would be at risk of a “cricket score” if they repeated their performance against Cardiff City at home to Norwich City tomorrow.
The club’s head coach said Norwich’s visit to Elland Road was a chance to discover what his side “have got under their shirts” as he laid into the meek display which ended in a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff.
United suffered a third straight loss on Saturday, paying the price for a flat performance and a toothless effort in the second half.
A 62nd-minute goal from Aron Gunnarsson earned Cardiff three points and Redfearn was scathing in his criticism of Leeds, describing their attitude as “not acceptable.”
Cardiff are 12th in the table, three places higher than Leeds, but tomorrow’s game will bring one of the division’s form teams to Elland Road.
Norwich won for the fourth game running on Saturday, inflicting a 2-1 defeat on Bolton Wanderers, and the Carrow Road club are in control of one of the Championship’s automatic promotion positions, a point behind leaders Bournemouth.
Redfearn said: “I said to them after, there’s no way we can have that level of performance against Norwich. It’ll be a cricket score.
“The thing we’ve got to do now is show some strength of character. The Leeds supporters will see what the players have got under their shirts.
“It’s a game where Norwich have got everything to play for but I’ve reminded our players that the season’s still alive.
“We want to burst their bubble and I want a performance. If we get a performance we’ve got a chance of getting a result.”
Redfearn said changes to his line-up were highly likely after a tepid showing against Cardiff, though Lewis Cook will be missing again with an ankle injury and Rodolph Austin is set to serve the final game of a three-match ban.
French midfielder Granddi Ngoyi is vying for his debut, however, and was on the bench for the second game in a row on Saturday and Redfearn could look to rethink his formation after lone striker Mirco Antenucci endured a chanceless afternoon.
A goal from 19-year-old Kalvin Phillips, scored on his first home appearance, levelled Saturday’s match at 1-1 in the first half but Leeds had no answer to Gunnarsson’s strike.
“We’ll have to have a look now,” Redfearn said.
“We probably shaded possession but it wasn’t at the right tempo and we weren’t incisive enough going forward.
“Once we got back to 1-1 I thought ‘we can’t play as bad as that again’ but we struggled in the second half.
“There was a real lack of desire to get back into the game at 2-1.”