YEP Jury: Leeds United must be more creative up front and tighten up at the back

Samuel Saiz takes on Rovers' Bradley Dack.
Samuel Saiz takes on Rovers' Bradley Dack.
Have your say

Our fans’ panel have their say on Leeds United’s 2-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.


Leeds United's travelling fans at Blackburn.

Leeds United's travelling fans at Blackburn.

We all went to Ewood Park expecting Leeds to win this game against a side that had only won once on their home patch this season; if we are serious promotion contenders that’s what we ought to be doing.

That we lost it is a worry; not yet a disaster, but a worry.

A look at the match stats tells us that the overall picture of the game wasn’t much different to most others; Leeds bossed the possession to the tune of 68 per cent and fashioned 20 attempts at goal to 18 from Rovers.

But the key fact of the game was that Blackburn won two crucial headers at corners from which they scored two goals and questions have to be asked how we allowed that to happen.

Why it was Gaetano Berardi challenging for those headers and not Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper defies all logic but there is a case for saying maybe the key element missing in there was actually Luke Ayling.

Hopefully “Bill” is back on Wednesday night against Ipswich Town in what now becomes one of those “must win” games!

Man of the match: Mateusz Klich.


It was never going to be easy, was it? Blackburn are a team brimming with confidence after winning promotion last season, and this win keeps them pushing the teams at the top.

Having said that, they didn’t do anything special to overcome the Whites. Two simple goals from two corners for Rovers condemned Leeds to a second defeat in five games.

I’m not saying Leeds will go up as champions, but as someone said to me on the way home from Ewood Park, you won’t win the league conceding goals like that.

Leeds struggled to get going all game, rarely playing the free-flowing football we’ve come to expect. It has to be said that Mateusz Klich’s goal was a work of art and it would have ended 2-2 if he hadn’t been denied by an excellent save.

One of the few positives from the weekend is that despite other teams winning, United still sit fourth in the table, just two points from the top.

With two back-to-back home games to come, six points are vital.

Man of the match: Mateusz Klich.


United weren’t good enough on Saturday and, for once, the possession stats didn’t really tell the story of the game.

Blackburn were tough and organised and we seemed to lack the will to match them in the fight. Pretty passing was all well and good but we rarely gambled in the final third and regularly picked the wrong ball at the wrong moment.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen us not quite at the races for a lunchtime kick-off and with several thousands of travelling fans in tow. You could tell it wasn’t going to be an easy day from the moment the game started and Blackburn were up for it in a way that only teams playing Leeds United ever are.

Stuart Dallas was out of position at full-back and it showed while Gaetano Berardi put in one of his best attacking displays as deputy for Luke Ayling. Kalvin Phillips was solid as ever but Samuel Saiz was wasteful in attack and having both Kemar Roofe and Tyler Roberts on the pitch at the same time was an experiement not worth repeating.

Put this one down to experience but it can’t become a habit.

Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.


Leeds’ unbeaten away record ‘went’ at Ewood Park as the Lancashire side won for the first time in a while. Leeds will know that this was a game that should have brought three points, but alas it didn’t.

Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to play Stuart Dallas at full-back seemed to make the defence weaker and Adam Armstrong benefited from it. You cannot let forwards have as much room as Danny Graham had in the second minute and hope to keep a clean sheet, he did what he’s done all his career and Leeds were behind after only two minutes.

The seven thousand plus fans seemed also confused that Kemar Roofe was played predominantly on the right hand side of the front three, although he moved centrally during the first period, the striker was in superb goal scoring form before his injury.

Throughout the rest of the half Leeds seemed to find the wrong pass and promising moves broke down, until the final minute of injury time when Tyler Roberts drove the ball across the six-yard box and Mateusz Klich put the ball past David Raya.

The second half was much better from a Leeds perspective, much better in possession and they forced the home side on the back foot but once again the final ball just wasn’t good enough. Leeds introduced Pablo Hernandez, Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton to try and force their way through a well marshalled Blackburn defence but it was against the run of play when Rovers capitalised on more woeful Leeds defending to edge in front, Darragh Lenihan scoring from a corner when unmarked six yards out. Leeds’ best chance of the second half fell to goalscorer Klich, his effort in the last ten minutes bringing a superb save out of Raya. That was it, a defeat in a game when the possession stats were well in Leeds’ favour. Unfortunately goals win games not statistics!

I was along the travelling support and most went away feeling that the next game against Ipswich Town is a must-win game. The East Anglian side lost 2-0 at home to QPR and sit rock-bottom of the division. marcelo Bielsa may bring in Pablo Hernandez and has some serious thought to the full-back position, Dallas isn’t a defender and either Gaetano Berardi or Tom Pearce could come into the starting XI.

Man of the match: Kalvin Phillips.


Seven thousand travelling fans, Kemar Roofe, Gaetano Berardi and Pablo Hernandez back in contention and a fine sunny autumn day. What could possibly go wrong?

Well it all started with United conceding a goal within two minutes. The remaining 43 minutes were very disappointing; the Whites seemed to lack confidence playing the ball out from the back and at times resembled Jaap Stam’s Reading side with their laborious progress.

At Thursday’s press conference, Samuel Saiz bared his soul about his lack of motivation at the end of last season.

He then proceeded to produce one of his most frustrating performances this time around. At the end of the period, he partially redeemed himself with a lovely pass which Berardi crossed to Mateusz Klich, giving Leeds the equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

In the second half, United conceded from another set piece and that was it. Although they pressed hard, they could not find a way through the Blackburn defence.

Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.


John Lennon said life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans and no matter how sweet Leeds try to make their football, the Championship can sour quite quickly.

The best coach in the world was undone by Tony Mowbray and a direct, pacey and resolute Blackburn scoring more than United by way of two goals from corners. That’s how the cookie can crumble but Leeds must ensure that crumble is not what they do next.

It was a good game. Two different styles but, somewhat unusually this season, both sides wanted to win. Leeds are going to be on the wrong end of a few set pieces but the fact that they didn’t create enough chances to score three is something that is as much down to Rovers’ resolute defending than it was to a lack of creativity by the visitors. That said there were not enough clear chances on goal for the side chasing top spot.

Nothing much will change. Marcelo Bielsa will stick with the plan but Pablo Hernandez will come on line as will regular full-backs and I suspect, more outings for Jack Clarke.

There is a need to get back to winning ways on Wednesday before any slide down the helter—skelter. Leeds were not at their best. Blackburn were.

Man of the match: Gaetano Berardi.