Leeds United: Forest too good and top-two bid fading - Gray

Gboly Ariyibi and Eric Lichaj chase the ball. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
Gboly Ariyibi and Eric Lichaj chase the ball. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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It’s not really been a good Christmas for Leeds United.

We’ve picked up two points in three games as we drew at Blackpool and we drew with Barnsley.

And we didn’t really deserve anything in losing at Nottingham Forest yesterday.

The Blackpool game was an average game – there wasn’t much football played in that game at all.

But yesterday I just thought that Forest had more quality than we did and that was quite simple.

When we went in at half-time we were fortunate that we were still in the game.

You don’t usually say you are delighted to be 1-0 down at half-time but we would have been delighted to have only been one down.

Because Forest should have finished the game in the first half and they should have been three or four up without any problem.

They just played better quality football than we did.

Brian McDermott was saying after the game that there are players that he’d like to bring to the football club and I think he will be doing his utmost to get players in.

There’s a lot of sides in the Championship that are very much like each other – not a lot of difference between them.

But I’ve got to say watching the game yesterday was a bit more like when we played Derby County when Derby County played us off the park.

We did improve in the second half and we did okay.

The players battled and we got back in the game but unfortunately for us, as soon as Ross McCormack equalised, they got another goal right away. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that if we’d have got a point it would have been a point we’d nicked rather than having fully deserved it.

But that’s just how it went and I think Brian will be looking at different areas of the pitch and trying to improve the side.

He more or less said that after the game.

He’ll be looking to see who he can bring in and see what players he can get and try and improve the strength of the squad and the side.

Looking at the Championship league table, you’ve still got to aim for the top two but you’ve got to be realistic.

We’re 13 points behind Leicester who are a strong side.

And Derby County, who are on probably the best run in the league, they are nine points clear of us as well.

So you’ve got to be looking as it stands at the present time at the top six.

We’re still seventh in the league and we are just outside the top six on goal difference.

And although you are not happy with that, you accept that’s where we are.

But when you watched the game yesterday there just looked a difference in quality between the two teams.

Nottingham Forest had that little bit of good passing ability in the side and they controlled the game quite well in the first half.

In the second half, you’ve got to be fair as the players worked hard and they came back into it a little bit but we were still second best.

We saw Gboly Ariyibi come on yesterday but he wasn’t really in the game a lot.

He did okay and I think Brian said he did well but he didn’t do anything that made you think ‘yes, he should be starting all the time.’

We never played a lot of football though I thought Sam Byram, when he came on, he looked a bit sharper. But in general you’ve just got to admit that we were second best.

Moving on, we kick off 2014 at home to Blackburn on New Year’s Day and you’ve got to try and win your home games – there’s no doubt about that.

It would be nice to think we could win that and that’s the way we’ve got to be looking at it. Because after the way things have gone over the Christmas period, we’ve got to be looking to get back on track quickly and to pick three points up.

We then go to Rochdale in the FA Cup on Saturday and that will be a trip down memory lane as Rochdale is an ex-club of mine. I managed them in the 80s and I’m looking forward to it as it’s a good cup tie but Rochdale are going well and it will not be an easy game.

I think we’ll have to go there all guns blazing.

Samuel Saiz, arriving at Derby County on Wednesday night.

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