Leeds United: Whites need a ‘nasty, horrible’ influence to drive team along – Whelan

Sol Bamba and David Davis.
Sol Bamba and David Davis.
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GARRY Monk said it all about Saturday’s home defeat to Birmingham City.

We’ve got a soft underbelly and a soft mentality and that has got to change. Until we stop playing for 45 minutes and start being able to play for 90 and having people that are out there that can be man enough to turn the situation around, we are going to end up struggling and being on the back end of these sorts of results.

The coaching staff can only do so much. They set the team up and the first 45 minutes was very, very positive. We went behind on the back of being very dominant and very brave on the ball with lots of movement and intensity in our passing and intensity in our breaking with the ball.

We were always looking forward and looking to receive the ball and I thought Alex Mowatt was very good in the first half and also Hadi Sacko. Everybody was at it but once again we have seen that we never play for 90 minutes. I have got no idea why but when it’s not going right you need men out there that can start getting hold of players and change the situation and provide the positives and offer that little bit of fire in your belly that you need to compete.

But we came out in the second half and we were second best. We were mentally soft and physically soft.

If there were any leaders in the side it would have happened on Saturday and we would have seen it. But we didn’t see anybody able to do that. There was nobody shouting at the players, there was nobody pointing fingers, nobody dragging people around – telling them to up their game and up the ante and up the tempo of the game and start getting involved. So we obviously need a change in mentality and a change of player in there.

We need somebody who is going to be nasty, horrible and not out there to make friends because he is there to get the result.

We are four or five players off at the moment in my mind and it’s four or five players that have got the right mentality and the quality. I would love to see a horrible, nasty person within that side that is not bothered about ruffling some feathers in their own team and in the dressing room and out on the field – someone who is digging people out and spurring people on.

We need at least two players like that – a horrible centre half and a horrible midfield player that is going to ruffle their feathers and a few of their own team.

When you get the result you can all shake hands and have a cuddle afterwards. But while that game is going on you have got to demand, you have got to ask questions of your own players and not just the opposition as well.

Up front, I think Chris Wood can still be a starter for Leeds but he has got to up his game. He’s got to stop thinking about doing the second thing before the first thing.

The ball is coming up to him and he is trying to turn within and turn into players. But as a manger you want your centre forward just to get hold of that ball, make it stick and bring your midfield players into play.

I don’t know whether it was that he was trying too hard on Saturday or whether it’s a confidence thing when things aren’t going right for him.

But when that ball goes up to him, he has got to be a lot more aggressive in holding off defenders and getting hold of that ball and making things happen for the team.

If you can’t run in behind the defenders then when the ball is played up to your feet then it’s got to stick.

You have got to be aggressive with it and you can’t just expect a centre-half to give you a free game. You are going to have to fight for it and you are going to have to make it yours.

It also showed again on Saturday that we had a real lack of discipline defending the first corner and most definitely the second and third phases of play when the ball was there to be defended and cleared out.

This is an ongoing problem but there is an art in defending which is a challenge for every single individual.

“It’s one on one, it’s who you are marking and you have got to do your job.

You have got to put your bodies on the line and you can’t be ball watching; you can’t allow players to run around the back of you.

That’s schoolboy stuff.