Leeds United’s cutting edge wasn’t quite sharp enough on the day – Whelan

Massimo Cellino in the stands at The Valley. PIC: Tony Johnson
Massimo Cellino in the stands at The Valley. PIC: Tony Johnson
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THERE’S no doubting that the lads went out there with the right attitude and work ethic at Charlton on Saturday.

In the first half there was a little bit of huffing and puffing and I just felt the midfield was a little bit too far off Chris Wood to be able to get up there and support him. But the second half was a complete contrast.

They came out and pushed for the three points, the tempo was higher, the passing was crisper and from the word go they were at it. Obviously we created a hatful of chances and we just weren’t ruthless enough to put one of them away.


There was a chance in the second half where Stuart Dallas was down the left-hand side and Lewis Cook was free after making a great burst from midfield to keep up with play. And it was just about that final ball that was just a little bit overhit for Cook to get on to. If the weight of the pass was right it was basically a tap-in for Lewis in front of goal with just the ’keeper to beat.

A lot of chances fell to Tom Adeyemi and you’d like to think if they fell to a striker they’d have put them away. But I thought Adeyemi was excellent and, for me, he was my man of the match. He was making tackles, winning things, on the front foot and excellent all the way through the game. He could have finished off his performance with a goal but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

But there’s no qualms for me regarding passion and effort, it was all there to see. It was just that finishing touch and I think the players and the manager know that was probably two points dropped as they were there to be beaten. With the amount of possession and chances we had, I think they’d have been going home feeling a little bit like one got away.

I know there is talk of Brighton coming in for Liam Bridcutt and Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has said his future is not at Leeds. but is that Sam’s point of view or is that Liam’s? Who knows. But at the end of the day the player can turn around and say ‘no, I don’t want to go to that club, I want to stay at Leeds.’

That’s the player-power that they have these days and it’s all about what the player wants. Once again I thought he was excellent on Saturday. He does exactly what’s asked of him, he does that job so well, just sitting in front of the back two centre-halves, starting the play off, winning those second balls and competing. He really is a class act to have in that area and it will be a massive loss if we can’t keep him because we see the benefit of having him there.

You see Adeymi getting forward more and Cook. They have a licence now because they know they have got that protection behind to get forward and drive into space and drive at the heart of the defence and that’s where we are getting our chances from now.

They have got that protection and they are confident knowing that Bridcutt does that job so well that he sits and holds.

It doesn’t need any communication, there’s just a discipline about his job that allows them to get forward into these positions without thinking, and the club is seeing the benefit of Bridcutt being there. Obviously Scott Wootton started at right-back on Saturday and I’m with Steve Evans on that one. Yes, there’s a case to put Gaetano Berardi in but why change a winning side? I will always defend managers with that one because I think it’s fair that you’ve earned your place with being in a winning side and, in this case, putting in such a good performance against Hull. Rightly so, and I’m completely with Steve there.

It’s just sad news that Berardi came on in the second half and picked up this injury. Coming into the Christmas period, who knows what’s happening with Sam Byram and I hope it’s not a long injury lay-off for Berardi. Only the scan will tell us that when he has one on Monday and the extent of the damage in the tackle that he’s picked up.

But we could be left without a natural right-sided right-back which is worrying. If it’s ligament damage then you are looking at four to five weeks.

We also heard that Massimo Cellino was there on Saturday with videos emerging of him telling Charlton fans to support their team. But it’s the Leeds fans he should be talking to – not the Charlton fans.

It’s the Leeds fans that want to hear from their ‘chairman’ and want a few answers so he should be spending more time at Elland Road answering the Leeds United fans’ questions.