Leeds United: Whites must learn how to close out their games – Gray

Sam Byram knocks the ball past Blackburn Rovers' Marcus Olsson.
Sam Byram knocks the ball past Blackburn Rovers' Marcus Olsson.
Share this article
Have your say

SATURDAY’s DISPLAY at Blackburn was probably one of the best we have played away from home this season.

We looked in total control but then made a couple of errors and then you lose the game which is hard to take.

It will have been hard for Neil Redfearn to take and hard for the players to take but the hard thing about football is that you have got to learn how to win games.

And there’s no way we should have lost that game – especially when Blackburn went down to 10 men and that’s the disappointing thing.

Saturday must be hard for Neil to take as we were really comfortable but it was an horrendous mistake for their first goal.

The goalkeeper has either got to take everything or the boy Cooper has got to whack it away but somebody has got to take responsibilty. But it’s got to go down as a goalkeeping error and it just left Jordan Rhodes with a simple task.

And there’s different thoughts about the penalty kick but I think it was a stupid challenge from Sam Byram as he gave the referee the opportunity to give the penalty kick by dangling his leg out.

I know Neil said he didn’t think it was a penalty kick but when I first saw it I thought ‘it’s a penalty kick’ and that’s what the referee gave.

Their manager thinks it’s a stonewall penalty and Neil says it wasn’t a penalty but whichever way you look at it I thought it was a bad mistake by Sam; you don’t dangle your leg like that in the box, especially when somebody is running at pace as Luke Varney was. And I think he did get caught. It was just a silly mistake and it was two errors that costs us the game.

You can argue until you are blue in the face whether it was a penalty kick or not but you are giving a forward and the referee the opportunity to give a penalty kick.

But the players cannot afford to be too affected by Saturday’s loss and they have got to bounce back.

They have got a tough game against Derby and they have got a tough game against Ipswich and they have got to go in to those games with the same belief that they showed against Blackburn.

But we’ve still got to learn how to see games out and how to win games and that’s an important factor in football.

At half-time on Saturday I was asked ‘do you think we’ll have to score again to get a result and I said yes.’

Because I don’t think we look capable of going 90 minutes without letting teams back into the game like on Saturday when we made silly errors to give them the opportunity.

It’s not a 45-minute game you play and it’s not a 20-minute game. It’s a 90-minute game.

But you look at the stats and we have conceded an awful lot of goals late on in games with another two late goals on Saturday basically.

But that’s part of playing football – learning how to win games and how to see games out and don’t let teams put you under pressure.

When they had a player sent off we should have been playing the last 10 minutes of the game in their half of the pitch.

But we just let them come back into the game and when Luke Varney got the ball there was only one thing on his mind. He was going to attack that back four and he did it.

You can say we were unlucky before that when Antenucci hit the post but they could have scored just before that as well because it was from us clearing the ball off the line basically that we made the break through to Antenucci who was unlucky to hit the post.

If that goes in – obviously – it’s a different game, but I thought we were so much in command at times on Saturday but we still never put them to the sword really.

If we play like that every week then we still have a chance of making the play-offs but you’ve still got to finish the games when you get into a winning position and that’s something that Neil will be working on.

It’s all right coming out afterwards and saying we should have won that game.

But we never did win the game and we certainly shouldn’t have lost it.

Boxing clever: Leeds United head coach,.Paul Heckingbottom. PIC: Simon Hulme

Leeds United 1 Brentford 0: Players’ reaction to reshuffle praised by boss Heckingbottom