Steve Evans admitted he understood the low turnout for Leeds United’s 1-1 draw with Fulham on Tuesday, saying the club were paying the price for not “fighting on a front”.
Elland Road saw its lowest league attendance for almost three years as a crowd of 17,103 watched a stunning Lewis Cook strike avert an 11th defeat of the Championship season. United are averaging attendances of just under 23,000 this term, slightly down on the figure for 2014-15, and they are yet to see a crowd of over 30,000 having failed to stay in the fight for a Championship play-off position.
The club’s recent fixtures have played out against the backdrop of in-fighting between owner Massimo Cellino and sections of Leeds’ support. Cellino has also blamed televised fixtures for reducing turnouts at Elland Road.
Evans, who suggested that television coverage of Tuesday’s Champions League tie between Arsenal and Barcelona had also been a factor in the small attendance against Fulham, said: “I’m pleased (with the crowd).
“If you’re not challenging for promotion, go and look at the crowds in the Championship and League One and League Two. It’s a bitterly cold night and unless you’re fighting on a front, people will make the decision.
“There were two big clubs on the telly so that’s probably got a part to play as well.
“The crowd were stunned when the goal went in for Fulham but when Lewis Cook produces that piece of magic, from there to 95 minutes the atmosphere was fantastic for a 17,000 crowd.”
Leeds were without Liam Bridcutt after giving the midfielder permission to attend a funeral on Tuesday.
But he is expected to return to contention for Monday’s trip to the south coast to take on Brighton.
Striker Chris Wood was missing again with a hamstring strain and, despite classing him as 50-50 for last weekend’s FA Cup tie at Watford, Evans said the forward would not be available for up to another 10 days.