SUNDAY’s loss to Newcastle United was not a case of the Leeds United bubble bursting.
I said beforehand that those two games against Norwich City and Newcastle would be games that Garry Monk would learn about his team.
They did very well down at Norwich by getting a really good win but when you look at the Newcastle game, I think you saw that there’s that difference in quality of the players.
The big difference, really, was Dwight Gayle.
Leeds did knock on the door and they had some chances and caused problems and if they had a Dwight Gayle in their side they probably might have ended up getting a draw or even better.
Gayle’s first goal obviously came from a goalkeeping error from Rob Green and we know that errors or mistakes by goalkeepers, more than from any other person on the pitch, usually end up becoming goals unfortunately because they are the last line of defence.
I know that they debated on the TV and said that Green was trying to palm the ball out from Jack Colback’s lob but I don’t think he was.
I think he was actually trying to catch it and he got it wrong so that it actually came out out of his hands and it ended up with Gayle, who is just a poacher.
He’s alive in the area and his second goal was fantastic in terms of the way his run was.
You are going to have the odd mistake and I think Monk is probably right in saying that he is going to stick with Green because one bad error doesn’t mean that he’s a bad goalkeeper.
Pontus Jansson is suspended for this evening’s Championship game at Rotherham United and the two of them at the back – Jansson and Kyle Bartley – have looked really strong.
They have got that solid partnership and it looks as if they know each other’s game but Liam Cooper – who will come in for Jansson – has been one of the best players I think for a long time.
He can probably count himself a little bit hard done by to have been out of the side and I don’t think he will let anybody down.
He is a strong player and a dependable player.
When you look at the Leeds squad, it does need a little bit of strengthening and I hope that they will be able to do so in January because of where they are in the league – just one point off the play-offs.
The fact that Cooper is coming in tonight does not weaken them.
The game at Rotherham is one that you would expect Leeds to win but, looking at recent encounters, we know the rivalry is quite strong and it’s a derby after all, really.
I certainly don’t think Garry will be taking anything for granted.
Leeds don’t want to be thinking ‘do we need to win this?’
I just think they have got to go out and play their own game, which I believe they will, for them to come out winning the game.
I actually believe Leeds will be too strong for Rotherham.
I’m very guarded about saying Leeds are going to do this and they are going to do that but I think they have looked very, very strong of late, especially at the back.
The first goal against Newcastle was a bit of a mistake but that was just one of those things and the second goal came through very good movement and build-up play from the visitors.
Garry might be able to pick a few little holes in that in terms of not picking up runners and getting close to people and staying with them.
But I think he will be quite pleased with the overall performance against Newcastle because he’ll know that the difference between them most probably was that man Gayle.