I’D say it’s been a good week for Leeds United.
If we’d have drawn at Fulham and won at Blackpool then everybody would have been 100 per cent delighted.
Instead, people just found it a little bit disappointing on Saturday, after winning at Fulham and then not taking maximum points from Blackpool.
But we didn’t deserve to win at Bloomfield Road and I thought over the 90 minutes Blackpool were the better side, although we came into the game more in the second half.
But I thought Blackpool totally dominated the first half and in this league you’ve got to be playing at your best to get results.
There’s not much between all the teams and there didn’t look to be 29 points between us and Blackpool. It’s that type of league.
Fulham was a great victory but it was a strange game and they could have been 5-0 up before we scored, or should have been. Matt Smith missed about four great chances and Ross McCormack missed a good opportunity, too.
But the good thing about us just now is that we dig in and we have got into that winning habit.
We have got into that mentality now where even if they are not playing well, they are going to get something from the game and I think earlier on in the season, we’d have lost that game to Blackpool.
Neil Redfearn made changes at the right time, bringing Steve Morison and Mirco Antenucci on and, if he hadn’t, we wouldn’t have got a point.
Antenucci took his goal really well and, if you are looking at goals, he’s our number one striker. You cannot argue with that.
Lewis Cook and Alex Mowatt go off on England youth team duty this week and I’m surprised Lewis is not in the under-20s because he’s good enough for that. What he has got to add to his game now is goals and not just that, but his final pass and creating chances for strikers. That’s something that will come with experience.
Overall, the run we have been on recently has been terrific, but the biggest lesson to learn for next term is that the season doesn’t start in January. The season starts in August so our club have got to be up and ready and raring to go right from the first whistle next year.
I think Neil is trying to emphasise that to the players and the club. It’s no good getting into the middle of August and saying ‘we have got to get players in’ – the squad has got to be ready and if we are going to be serious contenders then everything has got to be put in place for the start of pre-season training.
We’ve been on a great run and we’ve got to make sure that continues.
Between now and the end of the season we have got to try and get as many points as we can and the optimism will be there among the fans and that’s what you want – Elland Road to be optimistic again about getting promotion.
When Neil took over, promotion was always out of our reach. But you look at the last home crowd we had against Forest – nearly 31,000 which was one of the biggest crowds of the day including Premier teams. That optimism is back and, if we’d have been sitting in seventh or eighth place with a chance of getting in the top six, with how the team has been going, there would be 38-39,000 there against Blackburn Rovers. That’s how the club have got to think in the future – trying to get everybody back at Elland Road and making it a difficult place to come to.
Neil has obviously done very well, but in terms of him getting a new contract, the owner of the club, Massimo Cellino, is not around at the moment and he cannot do any business with United just now.
When he comes back, hopefully everything will be sorted out.
There’s been more talk of Russell Crowe getting involved and I certainly liked him in the movies! But I think that’s all just paper talk. Somebody Tweets something or whatever they do and everybody jumps on to it.
It takes a hell of a lot of money to buy a football club. But if he’s wanting to come to Elland Road then he’s welcome, no doubt about that – though the present owner has got the finances too – and we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Massimo. Nobody really knows what’s happening, but I would imagine he’ll be back.