Leeds United; Highs and lows of a Hornets humdinger - Gray

Ross McCormack celebrates his goal.
Ross McCormack celebrates his goal.
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Saturday was certainly a game of mixed emotions. I thought Watford really troubled us on the break and hit us quickly and coming in at 2-0 down at half-time, you’d have taken a point.

I think Brian just thought at half-time that if we were going to get something, we were going to have to get after Watford straightaway.

We did very well to get back into the game and put them under real pressure, got it back to 2-2 and then got the third goal. But Watford always did have the threat on the counter.

I spoke to Brian McDermott after the game and he said that he felt we always needed a fourth and he said that to Nigel Gibbs on the pitch. But the fourth never came. As Brian also rightly said, we could have got four or five goals. But looking at the game, so could they. I thought they deserved a point. And what a great challenge from Marius Zaliukas at the end, otherwise we would have got nothing.

For me, there were a couple of really bright things from our point of view. Once again, we showed we can score goals and Ross McCormack was again on the goalscoring sheet. I also thought that it was by far and away Luke Murphy’s best game for Leeds. In general, he was more involved in the game and he’s got to keep doing that. He was man of the match for me.

Alex Mowatt did well, the longer the game went on and he was unfortunate with the shot which took a deflection and hit the bar.

Looking at the game, I thought we started the game quite brightly in the first ten and 15 minutes. But Watford then started to look good on the break and with their pace out wide, they had that threat.

We were on a low at 2-0 down and then we got it back to 2-2 and were on a high and then we made it to 3-2 and were on another high. And then at 3-3, you think: ‘We’ll settle for a point.’ Overall, it was a great game of football. It would have been unfortunate if they had scored a winner. But once again, it was down to their pace on the break. It’s a hard thing to deal with.

Saturday’s game just showed the advantage of having a bit of pace, especially when you are playing away from home as you can soak up a bit of pressure and then hit teams on the break. Look at their second goal when they broke from the edge of their box. You have to remember they had every man behind the ball when we were on the attack. When they broke on the left side, they had three players racing through on goal. They had that pace to break upfield and that is something we could still do with away from home especially. We could do with a couple of those sort of players who can break really quickly. They broke on us a number of times and don’t forget Paddy Kenny also made some great saves, one to deny Anya and another in the second half to deny McGugan.

Overall, we are in a healthy position. But Saturday just went to show that if we had won, we’d have been in the top six. We didn’t, so we are a few points behind. Looking at our position, there are so many teams who are a point or a few points behind us and others just a few points in front of us. It’s all very tight. In the next few games, we’ve got Doncaster, Barnsley and Blackpool. But in the past we’ve looked at those sort of games and said we should win them and haven’t. Last season, we’d say we’ve got these teams in the next three games and should pick up nine points, but didn’t. You have got to go and out and perform. Next up is Donny away and you have to remember that they beat QPR in their last home game.

That just goes to show you what can happen in the league. QPR are a hard team to beat and are going well and Donny turned them over. Brian will not take this game lightly and be looking too far ahead and thinking: ‘We are playing Donny, we are going to beat them.’ He will be treating it as one of the biggest games of the season, which it is.

One last mention for the crowd on Saturday, who were terrific and Brian said that as well. They were fantastic and got right behind the team. It was just disappointing we didn’t give them the three points, but that said, no-one will have gone home disappointed following the performance and the effort that the players put in.

Paul Heckingbottom

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