I HAVE said since the start of the season that I am not happy with the central defence at Leeds United and certainly nothing has changed after Sunday.
We have had Giuseppe Bellusci, Sol Bamba and Liam Cooper since the start of the season and you can put Scott Wootton in as well and to me, we need a top-class central defender.
There’s no doubt about that in my mind. Despite all four of them, I don’t think we are strong enough there.
It is a position which is bothering me and it is beginning to get more and more evident and in the spotlight, certainly after the Middlesbrough game.
Maybe now we will do something. We need to sort it out.
We are lacking a bit of pace and while some are decent players, some think they are better players than they are in my view.
A defenders’ job is to win the ball and clear their lines. They haven’t got to look pretty and at the end of the game, if you have conceded no goals, you have done your job. You don’t have to try and dress things up and be clever.
You can’t take chances. Bamba does it every single match; every match he seems to try to be too clever. Defenders are not there to be clever, they are there to do a job.
When Bamba is doing it properly and attacks the ball, he’s very good. But he has this thing where he seems to feel he must show a little bit extra. Central defenders don’t do that; just get the ball and pass it on. And do your job – stop the opposition from scoring.
For the goal against Brentford, he lost the ball and they nipped away and scored. I know the game was over at Middlesbrough on Sunday when he made that error. But he has these real lapses in concentration.
Bellusci also made a big mistake after being called back in and it is funny that him and Cooper seem to be rotated a bit at the minute. Maybe this is a bit of the way in modern-day football where there’s a bit more squad rotation to keep players involved.
We have a problem with Bellusci too and have a problem with him and Bamba. If opponents have a pace of pace, we are in a bit of trouble.
With Bellusci’s header, it should not be put down to communication as both he and Marco Silvestri are Italian and it shouldn’t have been a language problem.
Whether the keeper shouted and Bellusci threw himself at the ball and ignored it, I don’t know.
But we have been making mistakes on a regular basis. In the past, we have had keepers coming out and colliding with a defender and things like that. For whatever reason, the communication doesn’t seem as good as it should be between the goalkeeper and his defenders.
Middlesbrough weren’t in a different class to us on Sunday. But they got what they did due to lapses in our defence.
I hope we learn lessons fast as mistakes are happening too frequently.
It’s a big game for us against Birmingham on Saturday with us not winning at home yet. We really have got to give the fans something.
It has been very disappointing at home, to be honest. I don’t really think we have gone out and attacked teams. For me, we have been a little bit negative.
Whether the players are nervous or not, I don’t know. We certainly haven’t dominated matches.
I notice Lee Erwin scored a couple for the under-21s on Monday and has spoken about how a loan spell and run of games might help him and be a sensible move.
But I do feel sorry for the lad. There’s been times in games, especially at home, when he has been on the bench and hasn’t been put on.
In the Sheffield Wednesday game, with ten or 15 minutes to go, I think it would have been a great chance to put him on. What a chance for a young lad to come on and get the winner.
He has proved in the Scottish Premier League that he can score goals and for me, he’s a decent player.
For whatever reason, it is not happening for him down here. For me, it is no good for him playing in under-21 games as he has reached a certain standard and can only go back doing that.
If it means going out on loan, so be it. But from what I saw of him last season, there’s a decent player in the making.