Leeds United’s away record was extremely poor last season, especially in the first half of the term.
Sometimes these statistics are difficult to explain but too often I felt the club were under-equipped for the challenge of winning games away from home.
If you’ve watched any amount of Championship football then you’ll know that the first job in away games is to roll up your sleeves and fight for everything.
I’d go back to our 2-0 win at Reading in February – the ground we visit again this weekend – for an example of a match where Leeds gave as good as they got and came away with three points.
To be brutally honest, we didn’t have enough players last season who were good at scrapping and battling. Some who were able to look good at Elland Road struggled to shine on the road.
But in the current squad I don’t see many like that. I see a proper, competitive group. There might be the odd player in there who I don’t think is good enough but the attitude looks spot on. I don’t think we’ll lie down for anyone.
The players certainly didn’t lie down for Burnley on Saturday and I’m sorry that they finished with a draw.
I’d have taken a point beforehand because Burnley are a good side but on the balance of play, we deserved to win.
They did nothing more than try to contain us for 30 minutes and we bossed the second half. Burnley’s best spell was in that little period just before half-time.
Those are the games you ought to shade and while Uwe Rosler must have been delighted with the performance, he’ll have been disappointed privately that two points slipped away.
The goal we conceded was a little soft – albeit scored by a great header from Sam Vokes – and I’m sure that’s something Rosler will have focused on when everyone returned to training on Monday.
There’s no point in trying to blame one person for that concession. Burnley were allowed to get away down the right-hand side and no-one was near Darikwa when he swung the cross into the box.
The cardinal sin, I guess, was the free header from six yards and that should never happen but it was just one of those frustrating moments in a very convincing performance.
I’ve said previously that I’d like to see a bit more strength in the centre-back positions and I stand by that view.
The only other thing I’d highlight was how isolated Chris Wood seemed to be up front. I thought he did well and genuinely battled hard but his game is all about looking for knockdowns and trying to feed runners sprinting beyond him.
In fairness to him, he didn’t have too much to aim at.
But this is all nitpicking really. The day as a whole was very encouraging, from the attitude of the team right through to the atmosphere and the support of the crowd.
I know it’s only one game but the mood feels different to how it’s been for the past couple of years. Elland Road was as passionate as ever but it was quite relaxed too. People didn’t seem on edge and there was no attempt to get at the players after Vokes scored.
It was nice to see the team get an ovation at full-time because I think they deserved it.
The first day of the season can sometimes be nervy but they didn’t struggle to cope with the occasion at all.
We now go into two extremely difficult away games but unlike last season I’m not approaching them with trepidation. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be wary or that we can under-estimate the opposition but we’ve got the sort of approach which gives you a great chance away from home.
The club needed a change of style this season and we’ve definitely got it.
We’re by no means the finished article but I think it will make sure we’re not a soft touch. There’s a healthy spirit about this Leeds side and it’ll serve us well in a tough, tough league.