Chris Wood said Leeds United had paid for poor finishing in a 1-0 defeat to Rotherham United but denied that the club were “turning back the wrong way” after a sorry result.
Rotherham’s first win under manager Neil Redfearn lifted them off the bottom of the Championship and halted Leeds’ recovery under Steve Evans following back-to-back wins over Huddersfield Town and Cardiff City.
A second-half effort from Joe Newell separated the teams at the end of a scrappy derby and Evans blamed the result on his side’s failure to convert opportunities either side of the goal.
Wood, United’s top scorer, was guilty of failing to convert a free header from close range late on and other chances for Mirco Antenucci and Alex Mowatt – Mowatt’s kept out by a brilliant save from Rotherham goalkeeper Lee Camp – allowed Redfearn to claim victory on his return the club he managed as a head coach last season.
Leeds have been trapped in the bottom half of the Championship for much of this campaign and the club are four points clear of the relegation places despite their recent wins. Wood, whose effort in the closing stages flew straight into the arms of Camp, said: “We would have liked to have carried on the run but I won’t say we’ve turned back the wrong way. It was just one of those performances.
“We created enough chances but, bottom line, in both boxes we need to do better. That’s from me up top to anyone in the team. When we get a chance we have to score.
“Everyone at the club is frustrated. The fans, in particular, were frustrated because it was a game we should have won.
“It’s fine margins in both boxes. That’s where games are won and lost. You have to take opportunities and you have to stop the opposition from scoring. We had more than enough to put this right.”
Evans said: “You don’t expect big Chris to miss a good header. You don’t expect Antenucci to miss the chances he had with the form he’s been in. But it’s not just about the strikers.
“The midfielders weren’t at it. Young (Lewis) Cook’s a fantastic talent but he’s been away for eight or nine days with England (Under-19s) and they perhaps don’t do things the way we do. He looked a shadow of himself.”
A tight match was marred by a 74th-minute clash between Rotherham striker Leon Best and United defender Gaetano Berardi which ended in red cards for both players. Berardi, whose nose was bloodied by an elbow from Best, is set to serve a three-match ban and will not be available until United travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 17.
Evans acknowledged that Berardi had been “a bit silly” but Wood said: “That’s football for you.
“Everyone gets a bit hot-headed at times.”