Leeds United keen to scratch a seven-month itch

Faces of Uwe Rosler
Faces of Uwe Rosler
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A victory over Birmingham City later today would be Leeds United’s first at Elland Road for seven months. Uwe Rosler suspected at the outset that the club had problems at home and his input as head coach is yet to end the drought.

The summer accounted for much of that winless period and Rosler himself has only managed four games at Elland Road but he is keen to amend an unflattering record before it becomes a serious complex. “We’re working on the issue,” United’s head coach said. “Believe me, we’re trying to get to the bottom of this.”

Three of the club’s 11 Championship points have been earned in Leeds this season. United are, like today’s opponents Birmingham, a side who look happier away from home and set-up to play away from home. Rosler admits as much himself but remains convinced that one victory at Elland Road is all it will take for his squad to turn the corner.

Leeds’ most recent victory at the own ground came against Ipswich Town on March 4. “We knew there was an issue before we came,” said Rosler, who replaced Neil Redfearn as head coach in May. “We know what we have to do but we’re dealing with human beings, not machines.

“It’s important we knock on the door very hard and it’s important we play the way we want to play. Small details we’ve tried to address.

“In general we’re not dramatising the fact that we’ve not won at home. But we’re desperate to give our supporters a win and it’s very important to give ourselves a win. I think that when we win the first one, many will follow.”

Leeds are 15th in the Championship and four points behind the play-off positions with the second international break almost upon them. Rosler has spent this week raising his squad from a bad afternoon at Middlesbrough last Sunday, when defensive errors – including an own goal from Giuseppe Bellusci and a slip by Sol Bamba – gifted Boro a 3-0 win.

The loss was Leeds’ second of the Championship term and their first away from home. Rosler, who has set his team month-to-month targets for points and league position, admitted a win was needed this afternoon to keep his side on track.

“I have to see how the players are (mentally) after last weekend but also in general,” Rosler said.

“I said to them when we analysed the Middlesbrough game that we’ll never make three mistakes like that again. That’s where we left it. We focused more on what we did well.

“Sometimes you can over-analyse, discuss and talk too much. The bottom line is we have to perform. Everything was said after the game. We’ve moved on and we’ve had a good week. In terms of our targets, I can tell you after the Birmingham game if we’re on target or not. We gave a points target and a positioning target to the players and the positioning target we can definitely achieve. The points target we can get very close to.”

Rosler took an unexpected decision at Boro by naming Bellusci in the centre of defence and dropping Liam Cooper to the bench.

Bellusci, who had not started a game for a month, struggled badly throughout and was culpable for two of United’s concessions.

Former Leeds striker Peter Lorimer told the YEP yesterday that he believed Rosler needed a stronger group of centre-backs but Rosler said: “I won’t discuss individuals or positions or what we’ll do in the future. The media ask me ‘are more loans coming in?’ and at this moment there is no plan for it whatsoever.

“We have to give a chance to the players who are here. A chance is not one or two or three games. There’s a period of time where we see if we can move forward with what we have. Or do we have to add?

“The recipe is not always get somebody new in. The recipe is also to give players a chance and give them confidence. But we all have to perform. That counts for me, the staff and the players.”