Paul Heckingbottom admitted he was disappointed with his early impact at Leeds United but told his side not to look for excuses after the club’s poor run continued with a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Heckingbottom voiced frustration with his record of one win in eight matches since taking charge as head coach last month and criticised his players’ decision-making in the aftermath of an injury-time loss at Elland Road yesterday.
A late goal from Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu snatched a badly-needed win for the Hillsborough club, five minutes after Jay-Roy Grot appeared to have forced a draw with his first Leeds goal.
United have dipped to 14th in the Championship after claiming just eight points from their last 14 games, dropping them out of the running for a play-off position, and yesterday’s loss was Heckingbottom’s fourth since replacing the sacked Thomas Christiansen at the start of last month. A 1-0 victory at home to Brentford is the only success on his record and asked if he had failed to make the impression he hoped for, the former Barnsley manager said: “One hundred per cent. In terms of results, 100 per cent.
“When you talk to the staff and players you look at last-minute things that haven’t gone our way, conceding or hitting the post, and at the performances which deserved better but my message will always be the same: you get what you deserve.
“We’ve lost this game because we’ve not been clinical at one end or the other. That’s it. That’s what has to change for the results to change, otherwise you’re just hoping. We could have won this game but we’d still be speaking about the same mistakes.
“They just wouldn’t hurt as much. If you want to be at the top end of the league the teams who are up there make the fewest mistakes and are clinical.”
Leeds fell behind when Nuhiu struck for the first time on 72 minutes but Leeds striker Caleb Ekuban, who started ahead of Pierre-Michel Lasogga, had earlier let Wednesday off the hook by failing to convert two good chances midway through the first half.
Heckingbottom, whose arrival from Barnsley cost Leeds’ £500,000 in compensation, insisted he had been encouraged by periods of the football under him, saying: “Some performances have (shown improvement). If we finish the game 1-1 I’d still be dealing with (Wednesday’s) first goal but I could have pulled out the positives of how we got back in the game.
“At the minute what’s important is dealing with the issues we need to sort out to get the results. That’s the business we’re in, a results business. I do think that with results this team will change in terms of confidence and the first goal is a big thing for us.
“It’s not going our way but you can’t just sit back and wait for things to go your way. You have to make things change.”