Garry Monk bemoaned “a high price” paid and defended his substitutions after an injury-time goal denied Leeds United victory over Wigan Athletic.
Leeds were minutes away from a fifth straight Elland Road win when a close-range strike from Shaun MacDonald earned Wigan a 1-1 draw last night.
Monk’s players had ridden a handful of near-misses in the first half to earn a 1-0 lead through a volley from Chris Wood but further chances for Leeds went begging in the second half, leaving Wigan in contention as normal time ran out.
MacDonald smashed home the loose ball from a corner, earning Wigan only their second away point of the season, and a frustrated Monk insisted his side should have “put the game to bed earlier”.
“We’ve paid a high price,” Monk said.
“We scored a very good goal to give us the lead but the next step in that situation is not to rest and do enough. It’s to go and dominate and get the second goal. You leave a team with a sniff of getting back into it with a 1-0 lead.
“We had chances to score the second goal and make it comfortable but we didn’t take them and a team with 20 minutes to go had nothing to lose.
“They threw caution to the wind and we defended well but this is football.
“It’s all down to the fact of not killing them off. They’re a decent enough team but they’re a team we should have beaten.
“It’s the first time we’ve conceded a goal in that situation so late in the game. You have to remind yourself – I want this to be the best team, to score four goals and keep clean sheets, but that’s not where the team’s at.
“They’re growing and this is another experience for them. In the dying seconds of the game, you have to be at your best. There’s no excuses.”
Monk replaced winger Hadi Sacko with midfielder Matt Grimes midway through the second half and also withdrew Pablo Hernandez and Wood before the end, throwing on Alex Mowatt and Marcus Antonsson.
Asked if he felt his changes had worked, Monk said: “Not every substitution you make is tactical. Sometimes it’s physical. The substitutions tonight, at least two of them, were made because of physical situations. Sometimes you’re forced to make those.”