Leeds United legend Eddie Gray's prediction, a pair of morale boosts and the Championship 'sorting itself out'
Leeds United have enjoyed a pair of morale boosts this week, with a resounding home win and a mouth-watering FA Cup draw.
Whites legend Eddie Gray predicted back in September, when Leeds were struggling to get the results their play deserved, that a comfortable home win was all it would take to give them the confidence they need ‘to go on a tear’.
Their 2-0 Elland Road win over Queens Park Rangers on November 2 was followed by a run of four further victories, the last of which was the weekend thumping of Middlesbrough.
Saturday’s ruthless performance was vintage Marcelo Bielsa Leeds and Gray hopes the 4-0 rout, and Monday night’s plum FA Cup draw against Arsenal, will have sent confidence soaring at Elland Road. “I think it’ll stand the team and the players in good stead, they’ll have that confidence to go on now,” said the two-time title winner, who today will be granted the Freedom of the City along with his fellow Revie Boys.
“We saw on Saturday when they’re playing at their best they’re free flowing and can create chances, but the good thing is they took their chances against Middlesbrough.
“I think it’ll give everyone a lift at the club and the FA Cup won’t have done any harm either. For the players to go and visit somewhere like the Emirates will be terrific for them, that should give them a big lift as well.”
Leeds are, in Gray’s estimation, every bit as good as they were last season, when their promotion bid ended in heartache. But that failure could help inspire them to go even better this time round.
Leeds are currently two points behind leaders West Brom but five clear of third-placed Fulham and 10 clear of seventh-placed Brentford.
And Gray sees the Championship table and the gaps already beginning to open up as good signs, with Leeds well placed for another title tilt.
“I think they’re as good [as last season],” said Gray.
“I think what happens, hopefully this season, the experience and the disappointment of last season will stand them in good stead.
“The new year is when the league usually starts to sort itself out but, in a way, it’s starting to sort itself out now, with that gap between West Brom and the team in seventh. We’re only two points behind West Brom.
“First and foremost now, you want to have a breakaway and then, after January, concentrate on the top two and the title, that’s the thing.
“Things are looking good just now and will hopefully continue in the same vein.”
Gray and a number of his former team-mates will be present at a special ceremony later today at Leeds Civic Hall, where the city’s highest civic honour will be bestowed upon them.
Don Revie, his staff and the players of Leeds United’s glorious 1967 to 1974 era will all be recognised, having blazed a trail across both the domestic and European footballing scene.