Leeds United: All-out attack to Revie’s curse - four tips to end the home hoodoo

Don Revie outside the Leeds United Ground at Elland Road in 1971. He became convinced that the ground was haunted by a curse.
Don Revie outside the Leeds United Ground at Elland Road in 1971. He became convinced that the ground was haunted by a curse.
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Leeds United’s loss at home against Brighton broke the record for the longest run without a win at Elland Road in the club’s history.

The 2-1 defeat means the Whites have not won at their ground for 11 games.

Given that stretch runs across three head coaches, changing that might not be as simple as installing Steve Evans in the dugout.

Here are our four tips for Leeds to break the home voodoo:

Give fans something to shout about

Leeds are known for the famous atmosphere at Elland Road, and the fact that it can intimidate opposition into submission.

However, that atmosphere has become subdued in recent seasons.

There has been little for Leeds fans to get excited about in that time, which explains part of the problem.

Often it feels as though Elland Road has become a haunted stadium, permanently damaged by the ghosts of the past.

Having a raucous atmosphere in the ground, driven by success on the pitch, is the simplest way of benefitting from the obvious advantage a home side should have.

Filling the stadium is something that would only help, but that can only come with a run of good form - there’s no better place to start than with Blackburn on Thursday.

Attack, attack, attack

Part of the problem under Uwe Rosler was the perception that his team sat too deep and did not try and dominate games, even at home.

It meant fans quickly turned against the German, who was initially greeted positively.

Evans has immediately implemented a 4-4-2 system, with more inherent attacking charge than Rosler’s 4-3-3.

Mirco Antenucci, who is probably the club’s best finisher, has been restored to the starting line-up for both games. He scored against Bolton and looked incredibly dangerous against Fulham.

“A lot of teams play 4-4-2 in the Championship,” Antenucci said. “Maybe 20 teams. It’s a balanced system.

“With two strikers you can be more dangerous.”

If Leeds want to end their home hoodoo, there’s no point in not attacking on Thursday night.

The Whites need to develop a belief that they can blitz teams, rather than just hoping to pick them off, especially at home.

Use the best players in their best positions

Leeds need to start Lewis Cook in the middle of the park on Thursday.

Admittedly, Evans has been slightly hamstrung in this regard by the illness suffered by Jordan Botaka.

That made him unavailable for the Bolton game, and could have meant Evans was forced to play Cook on the left side of the pitch again despite possibly not wanting to.

With Will Buckley still struggling for match fitness, it may mean the head coach felt a need to have Cook fill in the gap.

However, you will meet very few Leeds fans who think Cook is not the club’s current best player.

He is also a central midfielder, and as good as he was against Fulham playing on the left-wing, he was exceptional when moved to the middle.

If Botaka is available again, Cook needs to be restored to the centre. Even if the DR Congo international isn’t, Evans needs to find another solution, because Cook in the middle is the player to build a team around.

Check for any lingering curses

This might be a bit beyond the norm, but it is definitely something that Leeds need to consider at some point.

Don Revie was a superstitious man, wearing the same suit for every game, taking the same route to the dugout and fearing birds, especially the peacock on the club’s badge.

However, his most famous bout of superstition occurred with Leeds in the middle of a slump during the 1971 season.

Revie became convinced that Elland Road was haunted by a curse.

His response? Hiring a ‘witch’ from near Scarborough to lift the curse on the ground.

Leeds did not win the title that season, despite leading the league for the majority of the campaign.

If the home hoodoo continues much longer, it might be worth asking whether Revie actually got the curse lifted, and whether this is a route worth pursuing for Evans.

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