Leeds United: Hart hits out at Under-21s display

Leeds United Under-21s coach Paul Hart
Leeds United Under-21s coach Paul Hart
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Paul Hart bemoaned a first half which “couldn’t have been much worse” after Leeds United’s development squad suffered a 2-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town.

Two goals before half-time saw in-form Huddersfield record a ninth straight win at Thorp Arch this afternoon and earned United criticism from their Under-21s coach.

Leeds were outplayed throughout the opening 45 minutes and fell behind to an early header from Town forward Rekeil Pyke.

Regan Booty added a second goal with a free-kick from distance which carried into the corner of United’s net and Leeds were unable to recover despite raising their performance after the interval.

Lewis Walters and Lee Erwin missed good chances - the latter striking a post from close range - while Town almost snatched a third goal on the counter when Booty’s late effort came back off the frame of United’s goal.

Hart said: “The second half was a lot better but to be quite honest it couldn’t have been much worse. It (the first half) was poor, very poor, and very disappointing.

“We changed the way we set up and there were a few words. The fact is, if we play the first half as we played the second half then we’d be talking differently.

“When I sit down with the players they’ll probably realise that you can’t turn up 45 minutes into a football match.”

Senior players Casper Sloth and Souleymane Doukara - regulars for the Under-21s this season - were missing after featuring in Friday’s first-team friendly at Wycombe Wanderers but Erwin completed 90 minutes after his recent return from a loan at Bury.

Hart admitted that United’s display had done little to show off any improvement in Erwin, who scored in a 2-0 win over Wycombe last week.

“When he’s played for us this season he’s done really well but I don’t think that game would provide us with the necessary information,” Hart said.

“You’ll see the benefit of it (Erwin’s loan at Bury) in a league game.”