Leeds United's London curse should not be 'a thing' and Whites well on course for phenomenal finish - David Prutton

LEEDS United are heading back to London tonight to face West Ham and the Whites have gone over three years and 15 games without winning in the capital.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 5:45 am

Thirteen of those games ended up in defeat and the last win in London came back in December 2017 at Queens Park Rangers under Thomas Christiansen.

Remember him?!

But this record in London is intriguing as London is obviously a city but within that city there are a boat load of football teams.

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NEEDLE: Between Leeds United and Aston Villa in last weekend's Premier League clash at Elland Road as Liam Cooper, right, locks horns with Ollie Watkins who clashed with Diego Llorente, left. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.

Going back to when I was playing, we would have played teams like Millwall, Leyton Orient and then Charlton Athletic and Brentford and it’s intriguing that this is something that the boys seem to have discussed.

Patrick Bamford said as much on a recent Official Leeds United Podcast after being asked about it.

I suppose it’s akin to the FA Cup and not being able to get past smaller clubs in the early rounds and whether or not that is going to continue ‘being a thing’ if they are going to keep focusing on it.

I can’t see why that should be the case given the change in personnel and management and how Leeds have come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years that it would still be a thing.

But it seems to be a thing at the moment and the only way you can try and get through that is to beat the teams that are put in front of you - though West Ham will obviously be tough.

Leeds also still have to go to Fulham for their final game in London this season and, given where Fulham could potentially be and what they could be fighting for, then that is two very tough games left for this season in London.

West Ham’s recent progress shows what the immediate nature of football is.

If you are talking about traditional ‘big guns’ in football then West Ham need to do what they are doing this season for the next five seasons at least if they are going to talk about themselves with regards to dining at the top table.

But I have done games there, and worked there since they moved to the London Stadium, and the fact that this season has been without fans has probably helped them.

That has meant no huge venting of frustration at the ownership at the way that the club is run and they seem to just be enjoying a kind of ‘freeness’, if you like, to be able to go and express themselves, and that’s what they have gone and done.

I was chatting to Stuart Pearce about West Ham the other week and David Moyes works them hard and leaves no stone unturned.

He has got them playing in a way that suits the players and all things that you would presume to be common sense from a team that is doing well.

They have got key players in the likes of Michail Antonio that can really cause the opposition harm and they have got confidence which is huge.

Confidence is absolutely massive in any football team, whether it is Liverpool conquering Europe and then the Premier League and then falling away and looking a shadow of their former selves as they are doing now, or it is Manchester City looking to make it 22 wins on the bounce.

Yes, City have the best team and they have spent the most money but confidence is still part of the way they play.

It will be a really tough test for Leeds against West Ham.

But let’s not come away from the bigger picture here of where Leeds are in the table, which is 11th and 12 points clear of the bottom three heading into this weekend.

The season ebbs and flows with good weeks after a victory and then what can be perceived as a bad week following a defeat but, if Leeds finish 11th and 12 points above the bottom three, then that is an absolutely phenomenal season.

That would be a wonderful return from them in their first season back in the Premier League.

Yes, it is wonderful if you can hit the top half and all that type of thing but it is about being better than three other teams and Leeds are better than half of the teams in the Premier League on their best days.

It’s about finishing off where the table reflects that you are better than at least three teams in the Premier League.

Leeds are approaching tonight’s clash at West Ham following last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa in which there was a nice bit of needle given the events of recent seasons.

Leeds were then possibly more lacklustre than we have seen before in the second half.

I understand what Marcelo Bielsa was saying about dominance and all this kind of stuff but you have still got to ‘kill teams off’.

More often than not in the Premier League it’s a close game but the defeat is something they have got to take on the chin and move on to the next game.

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Thank you Laura Collins