For the second week in a row the league leaders put on a poor show and allowed the chasing pack to close the gap further. Make no mistakes, even with a slight revival and a decent spell of pressure in the second half, this was another dismal display from Leeds.

Although it’d be wrong to start calling this a slump in form, Wycombe and Exeter are teams the title favourites should be destroying. For the team to go to Old Trafford and knock the Premier League Champions out of the FA Cup, then drop five points against lowly Wycombe and Exeter is quite frankly obsurd. It indicates that something’s wrong in the Leeds camp at the minute and given Simon Grayson’s subsequent reaction, he knows it. Whether it’s simply complacency, or an unsettled team struggling to cope with the speculation of Beckford’s departure, it needs to be resolved quickly. Even if that does mean shipping Beckford out now at whatever price we can get.

From what I’ve heard of Simon Grayson’s reaction, he didn’t sound impressed. I believe he said something along the lines of ‘the team were still in the dressing room for the first 15 minutes’ and he isn’t kidding. The team may as well have been in the dressing room for the entire fixture as I honestly believe the U18’s could have given Exeter more of a game.

Exeter came at us from the off and Leeds struggled to get a foothold. It didn’t take long for the pressure to pay off when the Leeds defence went missing and Harley met a cross to fire the home side into the lead. A sleeping defence more or less watched the ball beat Casper Ankergren then looked around for someone to blame.

Nothing improved either. Infact, our best chance of the first half was thanks to Exeter when one of their players made a mistake and had to rush back to clear his own line. Never mind though, Simon Grayson will work his magic at half time and the second half will put things right. Well, so we thought anyway.

Leeds did reappear stronger than in the first and looked to attack, but Exeter wanted it more and kept us at bay. Jermaine Beckford’s mind seemed elsewhere as he missed a series of chances. Some of which were due to good goalkeeping, but on the whole, it was simply poor finishing. It’s too easy to blame the player heading for the door though and it wasn’t just him. The defence was weak, the midfield did little to help them and the chances we did have were squandered. Even Kis had a bad game for the first time since joining Leeds.

Exeter put the final nail in our coffin with just minutes remaining when Harley finished us off with a fine strike from range leaving Casper little chance. Another case of poor defending as no one picked him up and Leeds pretty much invited him to shoot, before looking at each other puzzled as to how he’d managed to put a second by the league leaders.

Make no mistake, Exeter were good but Leeds were shockingly bad. We were out-fought, out-muscled, out-tackled and out-played. The stats show that Exeter had 61% of the possession, which comes as no surprise to me whatsoever. If anything, I’d have expected it to have been higher. Quite simply, they just wanted it more.

This result is what should have happened against Wycombe last week. Last time we lost we bounced back well, but I aren’t so sure we will this time. The players just didn’t seem interested at times. A trip to Old Trafford may well have given them all ideas above there stations and the complacency that it’s been followed by has made the victory there somewhat bittersweet for me. As great as that win was, the most important thing has always been the league and the players need to be reminded of that. Hardly the time for a JPT distraction then!

  • Roger

    I agree there’s something goin on and it needs sorting out and sharpish

  • paul

    Same as last year, then it was 6 points lost against hudd and hereford…cost us promotion, there is no doubt the fa cup is a distraction….lets hope we lose on Sat!! If this is a reaction to winning at scum land then i truly wish we had lost…and it hurts to say that!

    • Craig

      Once more I’m at a loss to understand why a run of distinctly winnable fixtures coincides with a bad run. I seem to recall it was more than just Huddersfield and Hereford last year Paul – I seem to recall a few more embarrassing banana skins during that poor spell.

      It has to be all about getting the right state of mind for each game and I’m sure that Simon will bang heads together like he did last year when we had our short blip. Maybe Becks is an added distraction and if this is the case he needs to go or be dropped.

  • tim the white

    I wasn’t there and actually I didn’t even listen because I somehow felt this would happen. We were so bad against Wycombe that I knew another poor performance was probably on the way.
    It is a real worry that SG was not able to get them up for this one after all the hype about the plane journey and a week to prepare. Looking at the fixtures going forward for ourselves, Norwich and Charlton, if this is not put right pronto we will be strugging in the play off places by the end of February.
    Grayson has got it wrong with Beckford. He needs shipping out NOW because I am convinced al this is causing problems in the camp. However, I just wonder if SG is in charge of this decision or is the chairman pulling the strings?
    As I said before, the Salford game has come back to haunt us – for the majority of those playing, having the DVD of the game on the shelf at home is the ZENITH of their playing careers. We the supporters want our team to move ever upwards but most of these current players won’t be on the bus for the whole trip and there lies the problem.
    Finally, maybe the chairman can shelve all those grandiose plans for hotels and shopping arcades and concentrate on providing the cash to improve the team. We have had a transfer infolw of about 10 million and there is Simon Grayson talking yesterday about shipping out a couple to have some money in the pot to bring some in. So, where exactly has the money gone – we couldn’t even buy the training ground – SAME OLD LEEDS in the boardroom!!

    • macadamia_man

      SG hasn’t failed many of the fences LUFC sets every manager yet has he? – and he hasn’t balked at this mid-season hurdle yet. This is a hard one, though, ’cause it’s about attitude, professionalism and balls not football, and until the crunch actually arrives IMHO whingers and tuppenny experts should pull their heads in (unless they have more than an ego and a punt on disaster to contribute). If you think Caspar, Killa, Bradley, Hughes, Kisnorbo and Becchio etc are worried about getting a game next year (especially when you seem to think KB is too tight to buy a bus ticket) we must be following a different club . . . MOT

  • jesmondwhite

    really worried after yesterday. Grayson missed a trick by not changing the team after Man U. He had the opportunity to rest players and bring in the likes of Prutts, Kandol, Grella, Robbo, et al. He’s missed the boat now though. The Beckford prima donna saga has unsettled the team, and agree we’re starting to believe our own hype. Norwich will go top this Saturday which will be a massive psycjhological boost for them, and Charlton are running us down too. Was worried whether we’d win the league. Now I’m worried whether we’ll hang on to 2nd place. We should field our 2nd team vs. Spurs…

  • Harry

    The next two games are a perfect opportunity for SG to give some of the fringe players a chance, Beckford should definitely not play in either of them and should be shipped out as soon as possible because it’s becoming clear all the speculation and his desire to be elsewhere is having a detrimental effect on the team?

  • andy jenkins

    i live local to exeter,friday i went upto where the teams was staying and happen to catch the team comming off the training pitch that is on the hotel complex,Beckford was the last off,trudging along at the rear…..there lies our problem

  • paul

    I’m worried too, we’ve got to go to Hudd, Norwich, Charlton and South’ton, this time next week we could be in second place with Charlton 3 points behind. The Exeter result was not a total surprise…they played at 110% because it’s Leeds in town, we play at 90% for 2 reasons, 1 we thought it would be an easy 3 points and secondly nobody wanted to get injured and possible miss the spurs match!

    The man u result should have lifted the club to the next level, with wins against Wycombe and Exeter, the talk of Norwich and Charlton fighting for second place seems to of diminished somewhat!

  • Matt bb

    Leeds have too many distractions the j bl**dy pt??… Beckford on strike (not literally sadly) another chance in the shop window for our best players next week. Although these are all positive in their own way, leeds need just a single focus, the league, this season. Remember what happened after liverpool, a slump. We need to sort out some new loan signings (lets be realistic) a striker, and an attacking midfielder, and get back on game, give the reserves a run out in the jpt..

  • Mike Durkin

    Looking at it from a positive perspective we have won 17 matches from 25 games. In any other season a team with that record would be 15 points clear. Typically as its Leeds at the top, two other teams decide that they want to get in on the act!!

    The crunch period is the league games from 26th Jan to the 9th March – if we cannot win the bulk of those games we dont deserve automatic promotion. If we are behind or only a few points in front after the 9th March its going to get a bit tight, there are some tough games after the 9th Marxch with teams who either want automatic promotion or who will be in or pushing toward the play offs.

    Now is the time for the arm chair leeds fan to make an effort and get down to ER. its this period where we need 30,000 gates to help the players.Got to keep calm and no more booing, they were bad against Wycombe but I thought the booing was uncalled for as they have entertained and performed well all season

    The last two results have been painful but it hadly represents a collapse, I think a reserve side should play Carlisle, I really have no interest in Wembley if we are sliding down the table.

    The cood thing is that there are a couple og games before the next league match – I think thats a good thing, if we have any more shocking displays to give lets use those games.

    Mind you, you just know they will perform against Spurs.

    I actuially think the closure of the transfer window will help, that way we and the media will shut about JB. If he is still here he will have to perform if he wants his move. I think JB needs to get on with it, he may find himself in an awkward position if Leeds go up and the likes of Newcastle decide he’s not for them.

    To be fair to SG and KB you have to be coy with which players you bring in. Its hard to attract Prem & CCC players if you are not promotion certs. If we go up we all know that 6 players are needed as a minimum and spending money on those next year as opposed to Beckford and his contract makes sense to me. This squad is good enough for mid table CCC so should need to buy this season. If we go into the Prem do you really want Beckford on a contract of 10K with a year or two to run.

    As per the earlier comment most of this squad will not be on the bus in 18 months.

    You dont know whats happening behind the scenes, SG may well have committment from a number of players that they will sign if Leeds go up.

    Marching On Together – we will do it (no doubt the last couple of games will be critical!!)

  • David N.I.

    Would have been happy with Man U beating us and going up all day long. We are going to blow it[as usual] The window is open lets get the deals done.If Beckford is the problem let him go, if he is that good a player he’d already be away.Could not go through another play off as it’s only the fans turn up and not the team.

  • TheReaper08

    Shocking result and 1 point from what should have been 6.

    I am am sure TSS will have something on here shortly but breaking news is that Becks is stopping and I for one am delighted. Let’s get the focus back, get behind the whole team and we will go up.

  • paul

    Just heard Beckford is staying, this should give the team the stability back and put an end to the distractions (apart from cup matches)hopefully he will score the goals that take us up!! Then maybe sign a new contract in the ccc. Note. If we go to Wembley lets make sure it’s in the JPT and not in the play offs.

  • Mike Durkin

    Got to be good news

    Hopefully we go up, they offer him a decent contract and he does his stuff in the CCC.

    If he really focuses and improves (and trys a few diagonal passes) he may become prem stuff.

    Still play reserves against Carlisle – let the 1st team have a break before Spurs and come out fighting.

    I was not looking forward to the journey to Spurs this morning now I am

  • Colin

    Great news!! I really do wish I’d put that bet on Becks being at Leeds in Feb at 6-1. Never mind. Becks said:

    “After a lot of thinking over the last few days I have decided to withdraw my transfer request and commit my immediate future to Leeds United,” he said.
    “It was never a comfortable decision to ask for a transfer in the first place, but after the game against Manchester United and the unbelievable reaction from the Leeds United supporters in the Wycombe match I have decided I want to finish what I have been striving to do for the last two seasons – and that is to help promote Leeds United out of a division which the club doesn’t belong.
    “Every time I put on the Leeds United shirt I give 100 per cent and can assure the fans, the manager and everyone connected with the club that I will continue to do that.”

  • Colin

    Hopefully this is the kick up the arse that the team needs and they start playing properly now.

    I really hope that Leeds have told Beckford that his agent, after going public, can go shove it, and that Becks either plays in the first team or sits in the reserves.

    Sounds like Leeds may have said if we get promoted then lets talk then about a new contract.

  • Kernow

    Sorry!!!! Thursday I said all teams hit a sticky patch, and we need to watch out as we haven’t hit ours yet and here we are. Too many people saying we don’t need Beckford and we’re good enough to go up anyway. The reality is we need every player performing week in, week out. Maybe now he’s staying it’ll quiet all this frenzy down.

    This is going to be a real three horse race and Norwich and Charlton have got us to chase and they’re relishing it. Tough matches to come, screw the JPT. Who’ll remember who won it in three years time?

  • East Coast Bob

    Quite frankly saturdays result was a shocker, and with Norwich and Charlton finding there feet we’ve suddenly got a reel battle on! – Beckford now staying, so that monkey’s finally of the teams back.

    Still wouldn’t be surprised if we resign him in the summer, (promotion or not), and KB will be happy as once this contract expires there’ll be no sell on fee!! – not nice for Wycombe, but typical of Ken!!

    COME ON LEEDS!!

    • Colin

      I reckon he will resign. It was Wealdstone we got him from not Wycombe. I wouldn’t be too worried about giving any money to Wycombe but Wealdstone really could do with the money.

      But I reckon one of the deals that Leeds could do is offer him a new contract and include as part of that a fee that they will give Wealdstone as a thank you for re-signing. They could say here’s a signing on fee of £400,000 – we’ll give you it if you give it to Wealdstone.

      It’s in Leeds’ favour to keep him as I’d put his value at £5m and Leeds could get him for £15,000 a week. And I’m not entirely sure that Leeds have anywhere near £5m to spend on a replacement.

      • Colin

        Beckford wants to be at Leeds (see his comments that I posted earlier) & Leeds want Beckford. I think a new contract at the end of the season is almost certainly a nailed on bet.

        Especially if he scores against Spurs!!

      • East Coast Bob

        Sorry Colin, I’d like to say typo as they both begin with ‘W”. Unfortunately I don’t see WEALDSTONE getting a penny now. Bates is a business man , he’s not going to give money away unless he absolutely has to and how many Players have you ever heard of giving away there signing on fee, it’s not like Becks has been earning 80K a week for the last 3 seasons. Nice thought, but it ain’t very realistic ….

  • Colin

    Leeds do need to knuckle down now. If you look at the run of games we have after the JPT and FA Cup Spurs match, then in theory they are all winnable.

    Swindon Town, Colchester United, Hartlepool United, Carlisle United, Leyton Orient, Walsall, Brighton and Hove Albion, Oldham Athletic.

    That’s potentially 24 points – if Leeds got 20 points then that would put Leeds on 77 points. Which would mean Leeds would only need around 13 points from 14 games (I’m thinking 90 points will get you promoted this season).

    If Leeds do well in that run of games I mentioned then, it should I hope mean that promotion is pretty much sown up. Our main competitors have much tougher games over the next few weeks.

  • Colin

    Just waiting for a few divs to come on and bore us to death about why Hooper is so much better than Beckford.

    boooring. Yawn.

  • East Coast Bob

    Just looked on LUFC and just noticed its 2 games a week for the next 8 WEEKS – should be excited or concerned, it’ll certainly test the squad!

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