Leeds United’s Liam Cooper said the club’s players were “hurting” after a harsh defeat to Burnley on Saturday but the defender pulled no punches as he faced up to a four-game winless streak.
Cooper insisted that Leeds had deserved to take at least a point from Turf Moor after dominating the Championship leaders but he said United’s form was “not good enough” and avoided excuses at the end of a frustrating match.
Leeds conceded the only goal of a 1-0 defeat after just 59 seconds, picked off by Burnley’s Scott Arfield, and two glaring misses by striker Chris Wood in the second half allowed the Lancashire club to take another step towards automatic promotion.
Cooper described the early concession, scored at the end of Burnley’s first attack, as “a sin” and struggled to draw much consolation from a performance in which he and Sol Bamba kept the 35-goal partnership of Andre Gray and Sam Vokes relatively quiet.
“That’s always nice but we’ve come away with no points and we need to do better,” Cooper said. “We need to take our chances and keep chances out. We can’t start like we did.
“The boys are hurting and I thought we played very well. We’re disappointed not to come away with anything but we gave ourselves a big task conceding so early. Coming away to the league leaders, you can’t do that.
“The positive is we’ve been the better team. We did enough to get something out of the game and maybe win it but overall it’s disappointing. The first minute of the game, away from home, against the league leaders – you can’t do it. It’s a sin.
“On a whole, as a team we’ve got to do better. That’s no win in four and it’s not good enough.”
Cooper spoke out in defence of Wood who failed to bury two close-range headers as Leeds pushed for an equaliser in a one-sided second half.
“He’ll be hurting,” Cooper said. “He’ll beat himself up but he’s got a chance to make it right on Tuesday (away at Birmingham City) and he will do.”
United head coach Steve Evans, meanwhile, revealed he had dealt with a family bereavement and the death of his sister-in-law ahead of the visit to Turf Moor.
Evans said he had given no thought to missing the match at Burnley and he will be present at Birmingham tomorrow before travelling home to Glasgow after full-time.
“There were no doubts at all,” Evans said. “I’ll go to Birmingham and then head to Glasgow. In between I’ll focus on getting ready for Birmingham and then I’ll be in a car on Tuesday night. It’s a big loss to my family and especially my eldest brother.”