Micah Richards pinpoints key to Leeds United play-off hope as Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer disagree

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United ended their season with defeat to Southampton but can start a fresh going into the Championship play-offs.

Micah Richards believes Leeds United’s superior attacking quality should put them in a good position to win the Championship play-offs, despite finishing the regular season poorly.

Leeds’ place in the play-offs was confirmed on Saturday after they lost 2-1 at home to Southampton, their fourth defeat in six games. The result at Elland Road was rendered meaningless as Ipswich Town beat Huddersfield to secure second-place and promotion alongside Leicester City, but another below-par performance has left many predicting another year in the Championship.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Daniel Farke’s men now enter the post-season drama of play-off action and despite ending the campaign in a poor run, remain fancied to go all the way as the third-placed team. And Richards insists that if the likes of Crysencio Summerville and Georginio Rutter can rediscover their spark, Premier League football could soon return to Elland Road.

"I'm going to go with Leeds," Richards told The Rest Is Football. "I just think in the last couple of weeks they have underperformed. They went on that amazing run didn't they and then sort of fizzled out a little bit.

“But, the reason why I say Leeds is because in the forward areas, if they get it right, I believe they have the most quality. I know they have (been in bad form), but you have got to put that to bed. The play-offs are a completely different thing, it's another chance."

Follow Farke’s men as they chase Championship promotion with the Yorkshire Evening Post’s free Leeds United emails.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fellow pundits Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer disagreed, with both tipping Southampton to return to the top-flight. Russell Martin’s side have done the double over Leeds this season and that win at Elland Road on Saturday could prove crucial in building confidence.

 "They are on a good run, and I would think Southampton,” Shearer added. “It is not always that easy though is it? There is always a story that comes out of the play-offs, but I really hope for Southampton. I spent a few years down there and loved it when I started my career and they are a really good football club - I hope Southampton."

A third meeting between Leeds and Southampton would have to be at Wembley, with the recently-relegated pair split in the play-offs as third and fourth-placed finishers respectively. Farke’s men will face Norwich City in their two-legged semi-final clash while the Saints are up against Carlos Corberan’s West Bromwich Albion.

Leeds go into the mini-tournament in the worst run of form, having managed just one win and one draw from their final six games of the regular campaign. None of the other three are looking particularly sharp, however, with West Brom on seven points from their last six while both Southampton and Norwich are on nine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Five attempts at going up via the play-offs have all ended in heartbreak for Leeds, whether it be in the Championship or League One, but Farke and his players will back themselves to go again and put an end to that unwanted streak. They go to Norwich on Sunday before the return leg at Elland Road a week on Thursday.