Kalvin Phillips described Wednesday’s meeting with bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town as “massive” after a 2-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers left Leeds United fighting to escape a dip in form.
The midfielder insisted morale at Elland Road was firmly intact and said he was confident of seeing Leeds return to their early-season results as he reflected on a loss which left Marcelo Bielsa’s side with three wins in 10 games.
United have taken 14 points from that sequence of fixtures – nine from their last seven matches – and Bielsa voiced concern about the club’s run after goals from Danny Graham and Darragh Lenihan earned Blackburn a tight win at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Leeds established themselves as promotion candidates under Bielsa with an impressive streak through August and topped the Championship at the end of the season’s first month.
The club are fourth in the table, just two points behind leaders Middlesbrough, but Bielsa and Phillips both agreed that an improvement was needed.
Ipswich are rooted to the foot of the league and come to Elland Road on Wednesday with a woeful record of one win in 13.
Phillips said: “It’s massive and I’m just happy the games are coming thick and fast because after a loss you always want to put it right straight away.
“We’ve had a dip in form but that happens in football and I think with more work we’ll get better and better. I can’t wait to get going on Wednesday.
Tony Mowbray admits Blackburn identified one major Leeds United weakness ahead of Ewood Park win
“Morale is great. We’ve got a good set of lads, a good set of leaders, and there’s never one time where we think we’re not good enough to go out and win a game.
“We’re never not a team, we’re always connected and that will show throughout season.”
Graham and Lenihan both converted unmarked headers from corners – Graham scoring after just two minutes and Lenihan settling the contest 20 minutes from the end – and Leeds were unable to add to Mateusz Klich’s fifth goal of the season on the stroke of half-time.
“Conceding from a corner’s not good from us and to say we haven’t conceded many from set pieces, it’s very disappointing,” Phillips said.
“In the second half I think we came out and played really well and getting the goal just before half-time set us a good platform. But they scored from two corners when they shouldn’t have done.”
Blackburn moved into the play-off positions at full-time, extending the positive form which carried them to automatic promotion from League One last season.
Rovers were not fancied to challenge for a top-six finish but Phillips said: “I think they’re very underrated. The way they play is very direct and it put us on the back foot in the first half. They’re a good team but with us wanting to win the Championship it’s very disappointing. You look at the two teams and you think ‘Leeds should win this game’ but it’s just about what happens on the day. We weren’t good enough.”