LEWIS BAKER insisted that Leeds United’s players were on course to be ready for the start of the season despite a second-string side conceding four times at Oxford United last night.
A weakened Leeds team were made to pay for a disjointed first half as Oxford scored three unanswered goals before the break to set up a 4-3 win.
Baker – United’s loan signing from Chelsea – contributed to a second-half fightback at the Kassam Stadium with a strike on 63 minutes but Marcelo Bielsa’s side were unable to reel in their League One opponents in the closing stages.
Bielsa has two more friendlies ahead of him before the Championship season kicks off against Stoke City on August 5 and Leeds are under intense pressure in the transfer market having failed to make serious inroads with their list of summer targets.
Baker, however, claimed the existing squad were shaping up as planned ahead and speaking after full-time at Oxford, the midfielder said: “By the time the first game comes we’ll be ready for it. There’s still 10 days, two weeks before the season starts so yeah, we’ll be ready.
“The first half was disappointing on our behalf but in the second half we showed great mentality to get back in the game. It wasn’t the result we were looking for but there was great fight at the end. We let them have a bit too much of the ball in the first half. The second half is the half we’ll take into the next game.”
He just said we needed to get involved more in the physical battles and not let them have so much of the ball. Intensity is what we were lacking.Lewis Baker
Baker said Bielsa had been calm at the interval, in spite of the 3-0 deficit facing his young side. “He just said we needed to get involved more in the physical battles and not let them have so much of the ball,” Baker said. “Intensity is what we were lacking.”
Oxford manager Karl Robinson, however, bemoaned the line-up chosen by Bielsa, with most of Leeds’ senior players missing from the squad last night.
The friendly was arranged as part of the deal which saw Kemar Roofe leave Oxford for Leeds in 2016 but Roofe did not make the game.
Robinson said: “There were a few things that happened which I’m not overly happy with. It would have been nice to know they weren’t bringing certain players for our fans. “It’s not my problem but at least tell us, as we do with everyone we play.”