HEAD coach Paul Heckingbottom admitted time was running out but that Leeds United could still catch the teams above them in spite of Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Sheffield United.
Heckingbottom was forced to taste defeat in his first game in charge as two goals from Billy Sharp including a 73rd-minute penalty meant Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s equaliser proved a mere consolation.
United have now taken just two points from their last possible 21 and the 11th-placed Whites are now eight points adrift off the Championship’s play-offs.
Leeds now have 15 games remaining and Heckingbottom admits time is not on United’s side but the head coach also argued that his side’s upcoming fixtures provide the club with the ideal chance to catch the teams above them.
“As games run out, you get further and further away,” admitted Heckingbottom. “That’s fact. The beauty is we’re playing lots of teams above us so when we’re winning, we’ll be taking points off teams we’re trying to catch. That’s the beauty of this run.
“People tell me how difficult this run is but you can flip it and look at it a different way.”
Reflecting on his side’s performance at Bramall Lane, the Whites head coach was particularly disappointed with his side’s display in the first half.
“We’re disappointed with the result, especially with the way we came back in the second half,” he said.
“It is something we need to look at. Sheffield United are a team who, in my opinion, are the best in the league at building momentum with their style of play, keeping possession and playing forwards.
“They got the ball in the box and they got a goal from it. I know when I watch that goal back there’ll be things I don’t want to see. They’re the things over time that we need to improve.”
Reflecting on the second half, Heckingbottom added: “It was pretty simple to see what the difference was.
“Sheffield United were playing forwards all the time, putting us under pressure.
“In our own half we were playing backwards, inviting pressure. That made Pierre isolated when we did go forward.
“We had to change that and we had to play forwards more often. We did that and we gained the territory.”