Leeds United: Sloppy play proves costly for below-par Whites – Whelan

Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips handles the ball on the goalline  at Brighton which resulted in a penalty to the hosts and Phillips being sent off.
Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips handles the ball on the goalline at Brighton which resulted in a penalty to the hosts and Phillips being sent off.
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I WAS obviously left with a feeling of disappointment after Friday night’s 2-0 loss at Brighton.

We were all excited and expecting a little bit more from Leeds but I just think there were too many performances out there that were just a little bit below par.

Garry Monk.

Garry Monk.

We struggled with our passing at times and there was a little bit of naivety and playing the wrong areas and a little bit of sloppiness to our play which gave them the upper hand.

The corner which led to the first goal and penalty and the sending off was obviously from sloppy play in the middle of that third.

With the first penalty, there was no argument.

I think for Kalvin Phillips, it was an instinctive reaction.

The ball came through bodies and you have a split second to react and that’s what he was doing to try and prevent a goal with any part of his body.

Unfortunately it has hit the shoulder area of his arm and the referee has no other option but to send him off unfortunately.

With the second one, I think that was a very, very soft penalty for the referee to give.

Lewis Dunk was all over Kyle Bartley but I think the only problem was that because Dunk had got in front of Bartley, the referee has been conned a little bit through his eye contact.

He is in front of Bartley. Bartley is the wrong side and he’s gone down and the referee has given the penalty.

I don’t think the result shows a gulf in class with Brighton.

I think it just shows that we were a little bit off par on the evening.

I think because of the expectations now on the players – because of the results and the performances that we have put in, we probably expected a little bit more on the evening.

But everybody has a below par day at the office and unfortunately that happened on Friday evening. Certain things didn’t go for us, certain things didn’t click and our passing wasn’t really crisp enough and it wasn’t really accurate enough.

We didn’t really venture too far into their half, even in the first 20 minutes.

We had spells of pressure but not sustained spells of pressure on Brighton and when it came to 10 men it was even more difficult.

But you have got to give credit to the players.

I think a Leeds team last season would have put their heads down and felt sorry for themselves.

What we are seeing now is a team that will fight all the way through to the end and put their bodies on the line and show that grit and determination and fight that we expect in a Leeds United side. It’s no disgrace going down 2-0 to a Brighton side with two penalties – one that’s disputable. Overall, looking at the bigger picture, we are still right in there. And with these sort of games, there are going to be times when you are playing against top of the league sides.

We lost to Newcastle – they were top of the league.

These guys were second before Friday evening, and only displaced from the top spot by Newcastle on Saturday and there’s some very good players out there.

They play very well, they are well drilled and they have only conceded 11 in the season so far.

Are they going up? They have got a very good chance – but they have spent a lot of money. And we haven’t.

We have got players in there that are learning, players in there that are young.

They will take this disappointment and their learning curve will still continue until they become more experienced.

And that’s a good thing because the only way you learn is by making mistakes and that’s what they did on Friday at times.

And that’s very critical because I think they have been excellent all season.

Eunan O’Kane’s absence with a groin problem is worrying but I do trust the players that we have.

We have players that can fill in there, we have got players that are on the verge of coming back which is at a good time this Christmas period because the games come thick and fast and every player and the manager knows how important this period of the season is.

I’m not downhearted about it.

It’s disappointing but there’s lots of positives there that I can take heart from and we move on to another big game against Reading on Tuesday night at Elland Road.

Former Leeds United midfielder Lee Bowyer has stepped into management.

Ex-Leeds United midfielder Lee Bowyer takes over at Charlton