Whether you blame the formation, individual players, fatigue or a combination of all three, what was clear from the hiding we took at Swansea City was that Leeds United need to face a few home truths and quickly regroup.

We can take solace in the fact that there is no Tuesday fixture this week – a timeslot where we continuously flatter to deceive – and that the players and management have a full week to address some major issues before Donny Rovers roll into town looking to kick Leeds while we’re down.

Where did it all go wrong?

The most obvious change for Swansea was the formation. 4-4-2 played right into our opponents hands, allowing them to control the midfield and dominate possession. It’s a bit of a cliché in football, but games are won and lost in midfield and when you’re relying on Neil Kilkenny – a luxury player at best – to step-up and help compensate for the defensive hole left by Johnson’s suspension then you know you’re in for a tough afternoon.

Grayson was rightly critical of his players following the game, but must also take a substantial portion of the blame himself. He pointed to a transfer that never came off in time as one reason why we struggled, but this is an area where he can blame no one but himself. Clearly, we’ve been waiting until the emergency loan duration takes us beyond the play-0ff final, but the gamble we took in doing so has cost us seven points in our last three games and meant a play-off position is slowly slipping away.

Failure to bring in said player meant that 4-5-1 could either be played with a line-up of attack minded midfielders, or we could revert back to 4-4-2 and try to bypass the midfield entirely. It’s unlikely that the 4-5-1 option would have yielded a different result from the 4-4-2 we went with, but this only serves to highlight a major lack of balance in the team and the extent to which Bradley Johnson is relied upon.

Where do we go from here?

Despite the loss at Swansea, I would still be tempted to stick with the 4-4-2 for our next game at home to Doncaster. 4-5-1 is a formation that often relies on us counter-attacking our opponents, making it ideal away from home. At Elland Road however, we should be taking the game to the opposition rather than allowing them to come at us.

The return of Bradley Johnson should add a bit of muscle to the centre and Jonny Howson would need to play a more balanced role and allow the wingers to do the attacking, but we do have the players to make this formation work successfully.

If the highly anticipated loan signing does arrive in time, I’d even be tempted to drop the captain and let Johnson pair up with a (hopefully) strong defensive midfielder who can offer support to the centre-backs.

This in turn, should resolve the problems we’re having with our full-backs who continuously get themselves dragged into central positions allowing our opponents acres of space down the wings. McCartney has been dreadful for three games running now, but I don’t believe for one second that he’s a poor full-back, unaware of where he’s supposed to playing.

Finally, I would consider giving some key players a much needed rest. Becchio and Snoddy have been well below their best at times lately and both have replacements on the bench capable of doing a job in their absence.

Two points from three games with eight goals conceded is disastrous form, but by no means is it fatal.

This has to be used as a wake-up call for Leeds United FC. The four games in March are all winnable fixtures, but we need to resolve our defensive frailties once and for all before the play-offs are simply a forgotten pipe dream in a largely insignificant season for The Whites.

  • Gryff

    For me, dropping Howson would be a bit of a wrench in a 4-5-1. I think he does a much better job behind the striker than Kilkenny. Watt and Nunez could potentially do better there perhaps? In a 4-4-2, with two centres playing like Liverpool of old, I suppose he wouldn’t fit into the team.

    Couldn’t agree more tactics-wise on having two responsible lads to get stuck in. And Grayson definitely needs to remember that this is a squad game…

  • Matt BB

    I think the amount of time that has passed, effectively the whole of last summer, and then the january transfer window shows that we are either being too picky over this midfielder or else stubborn over price, i wonder which.. i think they would like us all to think its the former… even Mickey Doyle would have done the job for us.

    Also what about Clayton? Why did we bother signing him. Hes a defensive midfielder.

    Overall i can see the old infelxibility over the players grayson uses as the real problem. We need to give Snodgrass, Howson and Gradel a rest and we have Sam, Watt, and Kilkenny to cover them.

    I really worry about our keeping hold of a play off place and think we need to push for a relatively big name midfielder to bolster our challenge, I’m going to say ALan Smith in that holding role and await the flood of bile.

    • ANDY GREEN

      smith is out for the season !

  • Colin

    TSS – Are you on drugs?

    Drop Howson, Snodgrass and Becchio??

    So from a team that got 3 put past them by Barnsley at home, you recommend dropping:

    Howson for an unknown player
    Snodgrass for Watt or Sam
    Becchio for Paynter

    and think that will do better?

    For a team that has a shit defence, we need goals to give us a chance and you want to drop:

    Becchio (15 league goals)
    Howson (7 League goals)
    Snodgrass (6 league goals)

    I have to disagree on this one I’m afraid.

    And do you seriously believe any of Grayson’s bullshit that he’s going to get a ‘Premier League’ midfielder? He was meant to be here last week.

    Grayson got us a ‘Premier League’ defender called Lichaj and he’s done nothing to impress.

    • TSS

      Disagree entirely with Lichaj. He didn’t excel, but he was being sucked in like McCartney because the centre backs had no cover. He was a lot better the previous game.

      You have a compulsive disorder that makes you blame everything on Grayson. If the grass was cut a millimetre too short, I’m sure you would somehow tie that to Grayson’s mismanagement. Getting to sixth was a total fluke in your book. Grayson has made mistakes, but let’s try and keep some balance.

      As for dropping players. Becchio has been absent in the last few games, and Snoddy hasn’t been much better. Fatigue has crept in at the same time it did last season, and not rotating the squad more is to blame for that. An over-reliance on certain individuals is a big problem at any football club.

      I remember going away to Oldham (can’t remember if it was last season, or the one before) for a bitterly cold night-time fixture and we rested the majority of the team, yet the fringe players who were desperate to shine (Gradel was one of them at the time) ran the show and totally dominated. Oldham simply couldn’t cope with Leeds’ energy. We’re not seeing that at the moment, because people are knackered.

      If a player isn’t in form you don’t persist with them, no matter how good they are.

      • Gryff

        Let’s highlight a team challenging for a title – at the division above (which happens to limit squad size unlike the Championship):

        Man Utd!
        From 41 games, Fletcher & Vidic have appeared in 32 of them, Nani & Evra in 31, Berbatov 30, Hernandez & Carrick 28, Giggs 24, Rooney 23, Anderson & Da Silva 22, Scholes 21, Rio & Smalling 20, etc.

        Compare that to Leeds?
        From 38 games, Howson & BJ 36!, Becchio 34!, Gradel & Connolly 29, Snodgrass & Kilkenny 27, Schmeichel 26, McCartney Bruce 23 & Collins 23, Sam 20, Watt 18, O’Brien 17.

        Man Utd’s best players have been rested 10-15 times in a similar number of games, compared to Leeds’ stars 2 and 4! The stats are slightly off anyway since Sam has made 20 appearances but only 8 starts, with most of the 12 subs being less than 30 minute run-outs…

        The point is this: Grayson has not kept as many players in his match-by-match plans as most other teams. So naturally, fatigue is going to be a big problem. Think of Man Utd’s policy considering they also have top of the range fitness centres & staff…

        So in short (wait… It’s a little late for that!), yes Colin I would back TSS’s call to drop some of our stars (though obviously not for more than 1-2 matches in a row).

        • Colin

          gryff – if Rio is a bit tired, and you’ve got the quality of Smalling to come on then fair enough, but if O’Brien or Bruce want a rest we’ve got Naylor or Bromby.

          If Rooney’s a bit tired, sure, bring on Hernandez. If Becchio’s tired, we’ve got Billy ‘no goals’ Paynter.

          Squad rotation/resting players works when you’ve got a decent squad. Man Utd have got 25. We haven’t even got a decent 11 that can beat Norwich at ER, even after a 6 day break.

          By all means, rest players if you’ve got quality in reserve, but we don’t. I think we just have to thrash out the good players that we have.

          • Gryff

            This is precisely the problem, Colin. Leeds are tired. We aren’t playing the second choice players because they’re not perceived as being good enough. It’s making some of the lads jaded.

            You just said the exact opposite further down the thread: that Leeds aren’t tired. Now you’re saying they might be but we have no alternative players?

      • The Reaper 08

        Totally agree TSS, for me the defence get next to zero cover from a very porous midfield. It highlighted not only how much of job Johnson has been doing (although we leak goals with him in the team as well) but how much better we could be with a quality ball winning midfielder in the side.

        • Colin

          But with 12 games left Reaper, we’re not going to find that ball winning midfielder. I completely agree with you, but it annoys me at this late stage that we’re realising what we need from day one, and that we didn’t get that ‘ball winner’ and that frustrates me. I don’t want us to throw this opportunity away.

          • The Reaper 08

            I think the opportunity has gone Colin, sorry to be negative but the vultures are circling now and I am not sure how much life is in the carcass.

            I knew we needed a ball winning midfielder all along.

  • Paul South Wales

    Would agree with Bechio and Snodgrass, looked tired and need a rest. I said in the week that Swansea had the potential to tear us a new asshole, and oh they did. One jack summed it up outside after the game when I overheard him saying “they’ve got 5 hours on a bus home now after watching that shit”. He was right, what happened yesterday? We have this big squad and use the same 11 week in week out. This happened last season and it’s starting to happen again. Auto is gone, and if we’re not careful play-off place will too. That said if we get in them and come up against Jacks, Cardiff or Norwich we’ll struggle again. We looked tired yesterday, and were beaten to every ball. At half time I couldn’t remember stringing 5 consecutive passes together. Dyer and Sinclair tore us to shreds, that said they do that to most teams, but we were totally outclassed, and we’re so much better than that.

  • Paul South Wales

    Thought Lichaj had a decent game, quick and reads it well, so much better than McCartney, who’s still having nightmares now about Dyer.

  • Mikelufc

    “Whether you blame the formation, individual players, fatigue or a combination of all three”
    says TSS

    and what do all these 3 have in Common?
    Says Mike

    answer: Simple Simon Grayson

    He needs a rocket up his arse!

  • Matt BB

    blooming heck Colin, the drugs have worn off for a start. I didnt necessarily mean all at the same time, i would tend to agree that that would be a quantum leap, but they do need a rest, everyone does. The amount of pressure on snodgrass gradel howson and becchio is huge, given they effectively have to score 3 goals a game it seems at the moment just to not get defeated.

    Players like Sam & Watt are far from a gable and we have good cover for Becchio in the form of Somma, and even Mccormack, who will never get better unless they are used.

    • Colin

      MattBB – but TSS was talking 442 so Somma’s a given, which leaves playing Paynter instead of Becchio!

      • TSS

        Not necessarily. McCormack or Gradel could play alongside him.

        We should be playing 4-4-2 at home. We have a dreadful home record at home compared to the other promotion contenders and that’s largely down to the negative 4-5-1 system that relies heavily on counter-attacks.

        • Gryff

          Don’t forget that Nunez won ‘most valuable player’ and looked very good playing the poacher position for Honduras. And if we get a goal or two up, he has the ability to pull back and play as a forward midfielder (putting the likes of Howson back to defend?)

          We do have a lot of alternatives upfront and on the wing.

  • henryv

    I am only glad I don’t have to hear from the members on here who don’t think we need reinforcements in midfield and defense.
    This performance has shut them up for a while.
    Max looked good in attack and defense (apart from the penalty), but the rest need a rest.
    I thought Andy O’Brien and Alex Bruce were OK but had too much to do.
    We made Swansea look like great side, which was a worry.
    We seem to have a lot of managers promising us players then changing their mind! Why?
    One newspaper described us as ‘Sad’.
    Time to give Ben a run at left back.
    If this debacle does not bring 2 or 3 players in we can forget the top six.
    Kilkenny was terrible.

    • ANDY GREEN

      you must be kidding if you think Parker is the answer !

  • Mirts

    I am stunned. It’s so simple. Same as last year. Larry burns the players out. He plays the same first 11 as much as he can in every competition, midweek games etc. Swansea won previous and made 3 changes and freshened it up. Kept us on our toes. I don’t think Ferguson, Wenger etc ever plays the same 11. Statistics show if your team wins 5-0 and you play the same team they are likely NOT to win. It’s a new game, new opposition. This nonsense about playing for your place. How can McCormack, Paynter, Nunez , Sam play for their place if they get minutes every 2nd week.

    The key is you have 16-18 players and that is your team. You then consider the opposition and play the team that will allow you to run the game. I am not saying be the tinker man. Anyone can do what Grayson does. He appears to have the team numbered 1-20 and he starts at 1 and if your fit your in and he goes through until he reaches the 11.

    We appear to on paper have a strong squad. That’d rubbish if they never leave the bench. Play them all and make them all feel part of the adventure.

    It happened last January. Players were burned out after the Xmas games, FA Cup and that Auto Windscreen or whatever it’s now called. He played the same guys. It’s no coincidence that people like Somma, Becchio etc score from the bench. They are fresh!!

    I like a lot of what Larry does during a game but if he doesn’t start using the squad I can see us finishing 10th etc.
    He gets outthought before games begin. Maybe that’s why we are always losing the first goal!!

    I’m depressed.

  • Peter T

    Snoddy and Becchio poor performance I feel is the result of lack of rotation
    This has cost us dear over Christmas and when we play midweek

    This is why we have not won a league match midweek this season

    Grayson refuses to rotate so all the sports scientists at Prem clubs are wrong as all Prem clubs rotate players

    • Colin

      But we did rotate over Christmas. We tried hard to give time to McCormack.
      – O’Brien hasn’t played half a season yet.
      – Lichaj has played less than 10 games this season.
      – Bruce hasn’t played a full season.
      – Snodgrass hasn’t played a full season.
      – McCartney and Connoly have had games off.
      I don’t think Leeds are tired.

      • Gryff

        Snodgrass has made 27 appearances in 38 games. That’s not necessarily too much, but remember how central he is to our attacking in every match. He’s also not naturally gifted in stamina…

        Meanwhile our central midfield consisted of young Jonny who’s been rested from a massive 4 games this season, and Kilkenny. Killa’s played less, but in fact only missed January due to the Asian Cup, and played every match in February. Before the Asian Cup, he didn’t fail to play a single game for Leeds since October 25th. When Faye was having his runout.

        Like HenryV said, Bruce/O’Brien were okay, the problem was McCartney and Lichaj. Unlike TSS I think Lichaj is simply not good enough (For McCartney check the end of this post…)

        Becchio, too, hasn’t been in brilliant form recently and has been rested an entire 2 matches!

        That’s three players there who might be too tired based on total appearances. But don’t forget that certain players have played game after game for a month or two non-stop. Killa, of course, but also you have to go back to January 19th to find when McCartney didn’t start last, and even then it only provided a 7-day rest between 15th and 22nd.

        • Mirts

          I understand your argument. My point is it’s not the amount of games over the last few weeks but the amount in 7 days. Players just seem to go stale where guys that want to prove something sit rotting on the bench.

  • Colin

    @TSS – I don’t blame Grayson for everything. But I do have a problem with Grayson not taking responsibility for mistakes. MacAllister did. Dennis Wise did. He brought in a whole new defence and it’s conceded the most goals in the CCC apart from Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Preston. And it’s not his fault. According to him he never gets it wrong. He raves and raves when we get 2 clean sheets on the trot -ooooh. But says fuck all, when we concede 8 goals in 3 games.

    And as for swopping players and trying McCormack up front with Somma. There’s 12 games left. It’s too late to experiment. He’s had 34 games to experiment, now is too late. We have what we have. And it’s not good enough.

    It was good enough, up until a month ago. So what’s changed? Are the players tired? Are these the same players who have played as many games as Swansea?

    Swansea didn’t look too tired to me. Norwich and Barnsley looked pretty sharp as well.

  • Paul South Wales

    Everyone seems to concur that rotation is the key. Grayson should have learned from last season where we just about limped over the line. McCormack and Paynter will deliver given the opportunity, along with Sam and Nunez. MOT

  • Mike

    One thing seems clear, Larry cannot accept his own failings and he does not read Leeds forums which are full of posters pointing them out, so what goes on from here?

    Same,Same I am afraid until Bates realises that not spending his money is not a good enough qualification for being the manager of Leeds United and that wont happen in a hurry.
    He could hire the tea lady with the instruction not to spend.

    If we dont go up next year will be a nightmare with us losing the best we have, even Howson who must have ambitions.

  • md

    Unbelievable that we do not have any cover in central midfield. Reaaly missed Johnson

  • EYLEEDS

    This feels similar to the battering we got at Cardiff, but we then went on a good run so I’m not panicing yet. However we probably have to accept automatic promotion is gone, which could have been a realistic target if we had strengthened in Jan.
    We are armchair managers and Grayson is not only better qualified, he also sees all the players everyday in training. I might not agree with all his tactics but he is working from a far more informed position than any of us.
    I reckon the weak areas in our squad will be addressed next week and we will go on to lose in the play off final yet again!

  • Mark

    I can see both sides of the “grayson” debate however in passing comment on Leeds performances it is inevitable that the manager ends up basking in the reflected glory or criticism that each performance generates, we all want the best for our club after all.

    At the start of the season I suspect most honest Leeds fans would have settled for 6th spot with 14 games to go and Grayson deserves credit for getting us to that position however we have reached that position with a lopsided squad full of attacking options the large majority of whom never seem to get a game, yet we are forced to rely on the same central midfield 3 in every game and have failed to find a settled defence for a long long time. The structure and depth of he squad is Graysons responsibility and his ability to put together a settled, quality squad continues to worry me.

    Leeds central midfield squad of Johnson, Howson and Kilkenny isnt large enough (or good enough) for a sustained promotion charge. The time to do something about this was last summer, instead grayson spent cash on sam, watt (albeit on loan) paynter, mcormack, clayton, bessone (what was he thinking) who, at significant expense in wages have contributed very little to nothing at all. This is not Bates fault it is Graysons and he must take full responsibility in my eyes.

    He could have spent some of the money used to accumulate an expensive reserve side, on a couple of central midfield players that would have made a difference to our first eleven, he chose otherwise.

    The situation we found ourselves in at the weekend was embarrassing and unacceptable for a club with premiership ambitions. As a result of the suspension of 1 midfield player (whom the club do not rate highly enough to award a new contract anyway) Grayson was unable to play his preferred formation and Leeds were simply outclassed by Swansea. For Grayson to then publicly criticise the players for not working hard enough was really poor management.

    At the end of this season (wherever Leeds finish) we will have 1 central midfield player left at the club in Howson. In building a squad for the medium to long term i do not understand that strategy. It provides no stability for the club to build upon and will perpetuate the problem of relying on other teams “reserves” to fill in the blanks.

    It is of no comfort to hear Grayson moaning that Leeds tried to bring in reinforcements prior to the Swansea game, it makes things worse because in doing so Grayson was admitting he didn’t think his current squad is good enough. He is right, it isn’t, unfortunately Grayson has left it far far far to late to rectify the problem this season and for this he and he alone is 100%.

    Will we finish in the top 6, i hope so. Would i bet my house on it, would you???

    • Mark R

      Good interesting post Mark.

      I’ve written on several previous posts in a similar vein.

      The fact that the Swansea match has produced so much feedback on fans forums indicates that it was a pivotal match on how SG and his management is perceived.

      Our recruitment of players has been questionable throughout SG’s tenure. As you mention our attacking options are many, but few of the recruits regularly play. I’d highlight McCormack – an experienced striker at this level, a lively attacking otion, yet seemingly a significant amount of money invested in him to be used only as a squad player.

      Midfield has been weak throughout the season and has not been addressed.Shipping over 1.5 goals per match this season is shocking.

      The team is almost repeating the pattern of last season – good pre Christmas, exceptional against top Premier League teams in January, then fading away in the following months. We’ll probabley crawl over the line into 6th spot by the end of the season.

      I absolutely echo your sentiments that ‘ The situation we found ourselves in at the weekend was embarrassing and unacceptable for a club with premiership ambitions’.

      Player fatigue, a plentiful squad in certain areas, woefully thin in others, poor tactics on occassion, questionable player recruitment.

      The only way to consolidate top 6 now is to go into the loan market in a speedy determined manner and recruit 2 experienced midfielders, and for me a left back.

      We’re losing momentum and the evidence is there for all to see in the results.

      I sincerely hope we pull through and SG adapts to the reality of the situation.

      MOT

  • Colin

    Reaper, am posting here as no more replies allowed on our last thread.

    You’re right. The opportunity has gone. I believe that too and it’s so so sad. We’re so close to the finish line and the engine’s packing up.

    There’s so many desperate ideas being thrown onto this blog about what we could do to make it better, including mine by the way, but that’s exactly what they are – desperate…

    A vain attempt to believe we have a chance by possibly doing something else. But it’s 99.9% gone…

    But I won’t give up. Too many times before has there also been no chance and it’s been turned around by one person. And that’s Jonny Howson. He’s not finished yet and I want more from him. I want him to get less cool and more angry. If he’s starts getting at this team and doing what we know he can, then that’s the shot in the arm the players and definitely the fans need.

    It maybe the last throw of the dice. Grayson should give him the chance to drive us forward.

    No-one else can.

    I want a dash of Carlisle Howson, a mix of Bristol Howson and a shot of Man Utd Howson.

    • Gryff

      Colin I hate to disagree with you when you’re in your admirable optimistic mood, but I think Howson’s given his all all the way through the season. He’s had four matches off this season, and considering he was throwing up in the early matches he must be virtually dead by now!

      But we can still hope, you’re right. We don’t have too many tough matches left, and getting 6th place is nowhere near as tough as getting 3rd or 2nd. If we do get into the playoffs, then all previous form goes out of the window.

      • Colin

        Gryff – I’ve been a vocal supporter of only 2 players this season (and i’ve taken some shit for it) – Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson. And for me they will make or break us.

        I’m fully aware of Schmeichel, Snodgrass and Gradel’s magic, but I took that as a given.

        But Howson and Bradley have an extra step they can both take in my opinion.

        And blimey do we need it!!!!

  • David N.I.

    Swansea played and passed us off the park so lets get that out off the way, men and boys.
    Not been on this season yet but it is time to empty the gut. First McCartney is one league above his level, I’m a N.I. fan and have watched him play for our wee country, thank god he has retired. Another man who I am doubting big time is Ian Snodin I’m sure he had imput into the McCartney signing, how wrong can you be. It’s like watching Capaldi both SH1T. Larry still looks lost and confused on the line when the wheel comes off. Finally I’m a Leeds Fan through & through I took the time to write to Larry, Snodin, and contacted the Leeds Scout in N.I.[they didn’t even acknowledge my contact] stating that I thought I had spotted someone special playing amature football in N.I. The Crusaders Manager Stephen Baxter stated yesterday “the find of the century” This is an Irish League Manager “He has talent to burn an eye for goal,commitment he’s the genuine package. Baxter stated you discover a player like that once in your career. This is after 19 year old Stuart Dallas scored a last minute winner. Leeds fans watch this name pass us by they seem so cock sure of themselves at Thorp Arch to take a look. Again Snodin must have seen him as he has played for N.I. under 21s. So he can spot shit and talent seems to pass him by.Google the name guys & girls this could be big and they had a head start. Just Fustrated

    • Colin

      David N.I., if you didn’t get a response, then that’s really shitty. I wrote a letter in the dark old days to Dennis Wise and got a very nice response on official Leeds headed notepaper from his personal assistant on behalf of Dennis Wise. And the letter was genuine and sincere.

  • Mike

    I am a bit fustrated mesen :-)
    Nowt to do wi football though, the wifes been in London for a week.
    Only kidding David.
    You should have contacted Ken direct, Does Ian Snodin work for Leeds?

  • Ben

    Don’t see how you can blame this on Grayson – the man has managed to get a squad that was just good enough to get out of league 1 to 6th in the Championship.

    You say his signings have been poor – no surprise with the restrictions Ken has enforced – Look at Leicester now, bit of money spent and they’re flying. So many similar teams in the division, all it takes is a couple of quality players between top 8 and bottom 8.

    We have Snodgrass as quality attacking creative force, ok compare this with our rivals, say Cardiff, who have Bellamy, Burke, Whittingham, McPhail to create and Bothroyd and Chopra to finish – we can’t be expected to seriously challenge squads like that week in, week out.

    Even Swansea with Dyer, Bodde and Moore – we simply don’t have that kind of personnel at Leeds, and to be honest the fact that we are even in the playoff mix is very surprising.

    A year or two, get settled in the Championship and develop our squad to a higher standard (shouldn’t be overly difficult with our resources) then make a serious bid for promotion – MOT!

    • Mark

      Ben, I blame the state of Leeds squad on Grayson because its his job to assemble a squad and his responsibility if he gets it wrong.

      The squad is hopelessly lopsided, full of attacking players that cant get a game, yet there is no real quality or competition for places in either defence or midfield. The problem has not been investment in players, it has been who Grayson has chosen to invest in, the majority of whom have not improved our 1st eleven at all.

      Graysons dealings this season are as follows:

      Schmeichel, Paynter, Connolly, Bessone, Collins, Sam, Bruce, McCormack, Núñez, Clayton, Faye, O’Brien, Thompson. Thirteen players in does not equal a lack of investment or resource in the playing staff, the problem is only a couple of them have made an impact on the first team. The reality is Grayson has assembled a really expensive reserve team with the funds made available to him for players. With the exception of Schmeichel, Connolly and Bruce would Leeds first team squad be weakened if we hadnt bothered with the rest and instead spent the money on a couple of good central midfielders and a competent left back.

      Despite this large influx over the past 12 months the current squad will need to be completely rebuilt in the summer. Leeds have six players out of contract this year (Higgs, Kisnorbo, Naylor, Kilkenny, Johnson and Nunez) and 4 loaness returning to their parent clubs (Lichaj, McCartney, Gonzalez and Watt). On the positive this frees up wages for other players to come in however if they are of the same standard as Grayson recruited in the summer (Bessone, Clayton, Paynter, Mcormack, Collins, Sam, Bruce, Nunez, Faye) I am struggling to see how this will improve on the current squad. Grayson spent money in the summer with fees being paid for Collins, Mcormack, Clayton and Bruce totalling over £1m, his judgement on all of these signings is open to question.

      Leeds will also have to content with the issue of Gradel and Howson (and a few others) only having 12 months left on their contracts in the summer making them vulnerable to interest from other clubs (Gradel to Newcastle?).

      The only players leeds have under long term contract (more than 2 years remaining) are Paynter, Mcormack, Snodgrass, Becchio, Connolly, Bessone, Obrien and Clayton. The fact is only four of these players are first team regulars and if Grayson no longer fancies the others he will struggle to move them on elsewhere given the contracts they are on at Elland Road.

      At the start of the season I would have taken 6th place with 14 games to go however its now starting to feel like a missed opportunity. Given the structure of Leeds current squad and Graysons very very average performance in the transfer market I am not convinced that next season in the Championship holds out as much promise as this year.

      Bates is the custodian of our club (whether we like it or not, i don’t) and sets the budget for Grayson to work with. Although i am only speculating i would suggest that budget is at least on a par if not better than most in the Championship. It is not unreasonable to question if Grayson has made the most of the resource (finance) available to him in bringing players to Elland Road, in my opinion he has fallen far short of the performance required for that he is 100% responsible.

      I live in hope of the playoffs, and as a Leeds United supporter am prepared for the heartbreak they inevitably bring. My worry is what happens then!!!!

  • David N.I.

    Sorry Mike should have said Glynn he is Worthingtons No2.You havn’t coached your missus very well a Birmingham Fan I guess, at least she saw a win. As a fan you try and help your team but what a waste of my time. Never thought of papa he would have been on like a shot free is always good.

  • Old Billy White

    4-4-2 set the alarm bells ringing for me, before a ball was kicked. At ER Swansea were the better team, passed us to death and how we won I’m still not sure, so to go into the game wide open was asking for trouble. All season we’ve looked vulnerable when people have got at us.
    Also the 4-4-2 restricts Howson and the two wingers, so we don’t get the best out of them. McCartney, was obviously told to get stuck into Dyer after the half time break, too little to late, the kid was running him ragged, and he just backed off and let him do it.
    He should have been off at half time.

  • henryv

    To me, the biggest difference between us and Swansea was we stood off them, all over the pitch.
    We compounded this by backing off them, allowing Swansea even more time and space.
    Contrast that to Swansea who were right up our backs in defense and midfield, and pressed us all over the pitch.
    Their midfield were quickly into tackles, the moment they lost the ball.
    Our midfield are not tacklers and the game passed them by.
    Two up front was luxury we could not afford.
    That is why we were over-run and out played.
    We ‘never earned the right to play’ as the saying goes. We lacked commitment, energy and commonsense.
    If there is a blessing here it is a big alarm call to Simon and the Chairman.
    This nonsense about coming back stronger next year, when we are knocking at the door now is crazy.
    To invest a relatively small amount, for a massive return, must be our tactic now.
    Remember Cardiff and Swansea and a few others have been consolidating for years in the Championship.
    Dave Jones has been closed to the sack many times, and there is no guarantee they will go up this year.
    Our league will be even tougher next year with the relegated Premiership teams having a 4 year parachute payment!!
    Are we downhearted? A little yes, but we live in hope
    and we must keep faith in Simon.

  • KohSamuiWhites

    Leeds have let a massive opportunity for automatic promotion slip by this season.Our defensive and midfield frailties have been glaringly obvious from very early on in the season.Simon Grayson and his coaching staff are solely to blame for this.As former defenders themselves Grayson and Snodin are not doing a very good job in that department.Unfortunately it,s too late to rectify the situation now.I,m sick to death of Graysons tired old retoric about the right players not being available.The right players are out there if we were to show the slightest hint of ambition in the transfer market instead of loaning second rate Premiership players with little or no affinity to the club.I believe Grayson will eventually get it right and get us promoted,he does seem to learn from his mistakes albeit very slowly.He,s cheap and does as he,s told.As a club we seem to be accepting mediocraty.Home draws against hull,pompey,barnsley,norwich etc are now acceptable.The Leeds United i want to support should be livid at this state of affairs.MOT.

    • Idlewhite

      You’ve hit the nail on the head for me mate. ‘He’s cheap and does as he’s told’.
      Ken Bates has no burning ambition to get to the PL asap. Why would he suddenly want to cough up an extra 5m(?) to creditors due to promotion within a certain time scale? Not Ken, not in a million years.

      I’ve no doubt his long term view is to eventually get back there, but from his point of view, why the rush? Why do something for 8m when you could achieve the same for 3m?

      I suspect he has a short/medium/long term plan for the club and he sold this to Grayson, who knew exactly what he was letting himself in for. That’s why he was chosen, lifelong supporter, ex player (albeit low key), cheap and has an undoubted love for the club. I reckon Grayson’s job is as secure as they come, he has the opportunity to become a Leeds legend but by doing things the Bates way. ‘Do it my way Simon and you will have you’re ultimate goal but we’re working to my time scale’. How many of us would pass the opportunity up? Not many I suspect.

      We will make it back to the promised land but when Ken Bates is ready not Simon Grayson. I suspect that this is why the majority of us can pinpoint the problems but Grayson doesn’t act upon them as we’d wish.

      People may think this theory is a little far fetched, but is it? None of us know exactly what is said between Bates and Grayson or what deal the manager is on. All I know is that the problems are glaringly obvious to the majority of supporters and that Ken Bates has no history of frittering money away he doesn’t need to. I think between them they’ve gambled and lost.

      Before the Norwich game I said to a friend that the next 3 games would shape the rest of the season, are we fighting for automatic or play offs? Saturdays performance answered the question for me. I think we’ll scrape into the play offs only to fail again, but I imagine it will whet my appetite enough to have me clutching at straws once again!!!!

      • The Reaper 08

        “People may think this theory is a little far fetched, but is it? None of us know exactly what is said between Bates and Grayson or what deal the manager is on”

        I agree whole heartedly with that, although reading some of the comments there are a lot of people who THINK they know what goes on.

  • tim campbell

    I wonder would things have been much different if we had been given that blatent penalty – poorly refereed game!

  • henryv

    I doubt it Tim, but you never know.
    Somma could have had 2.
    There is no getting away from the fact that they could have had 6 or 7 also.
    A 7 -3 defeat would have been just as bad!!
    It is the performance that gives you hope. If we had played well and lost 2 -1 we could accept that.
    Instead we were run ragged by a decent team who were made to look like world beaters.

  • number1inyorkshire

    are we all agreed then its GRAYSOND FAULT good

  • number1inyorkshire

    sorry typo do it again are we all agreed then its !GRAYSONS FAULT!!! good

  • henryv

    I still think Simon has done a great job overall.
    We do not know what his transfer budget was/is but we do know it won’t have been much.
    The players he has brought in were free, surplus to requirements or a small fee paid.
    This means some past their best and others who will never reach it.
    Not a good recipe for a strong squad.
    Our rivals, apart from Norwich and Millwall have had time to build their squads, whereas we had to spend money to bring in 15 Championship standard players.
    To hope that the majority of our squad would be good enough to make a promotion push was asking a lot.
    However, we have done pretty good up to now.
    The problem is that we have to spend NOW to take this unexpected opportunity.
    We need…. well we have covered that … but surely the Chairman and manager must see this?
    It is worth a gamble for the riches of the Premiership.
    I wonder what all our scouts are doing.
    We have not turned up any gems from the lower leagues or Europe, which would help our cash strapped situation.
    I think it may be fair to conclude that ground ‘improvements’ have been put ahead of squad strengthening?

    • Mark

      I agree there are other teams who have been in development longer than Leeds however Grayson has still had money to spend that many other clubs haven’t and will have a wage budget comparable to most championship clubs. Has Grayson spent his funds wisely?

      Collins 500k
      Mcormack 400k
      Bruce 300k
      Clayton ?
      Obrien?

      As Grayson has had money to spend to address the “gaps” in Leeds squad, what is the problem and why. Unfortunately his record in the transfer market is poor. He’s brought in average players that have done nothing to improve our first eleven and has left himself a large and lopsided squad, many of whom he no longer seems to rate after spending Leeds money on them.

      He brought a new keeper in on loan from Man City in January yet the guy hasn’t made a single first team squad – as a signing this appears completely pointless. We must be the only club in the league with the same number of goalkeepers as we have central midfielders in our squad. If we have serious ambition to progress as a club it is completely unacceptable (and completely avoidable) that a suspension to one central midfield player leaves the club scrambling around the emergency loan market looking for a replacement.

      The defensive and midfield problems we have today are the same as we have had all season, this needed fixing last summer or at worst the January transfer market gone. It wasn’t and it has cost Leeds points already. Will it cost us a play off spot, probably.

      Like most Leeds fans i would probably have settled for consolidation in the championship before the season started, however after the progress the team made upto Christmas anything less than a play off spot now will feel like an opportunity lost. As i have already posted, given the likely high turnover of players at the club in the summer i am not convinced the squad will be any better placed to mount a serious challenge on the championship next year, nor do i see the championship getting any easier.

      The fact is we have the best scoring record in the championship and the fourth worst defensive record in the championship. Grayson takes responsibility for both! One may prove to be our salvation, i have a horrible feeling the other is more likely to be our undoing.

  • jailhouse john

    Many of us fans have both played and watched football for many years and whilst obviously not performed professionally have a decent grasp of what is wrong with an underperforming team. And LUFC ARE underperforming.

    Central midfield is a dogs breakfast and has been for most of the season. These inadequacies have been netralised somewhat by the form of our wide players plus Howson. Johnson and Kilkenny are out of their depth at the top of the Championship – indeed if I were manager then Johnson would never kick a ball for us again as his brainless actions when he was sent off was an act of stupidity beyond belief. Add to that a ever increasing problem at full back then it is no wonder our central defence becomes overwhelmed at times.

    Thousands of words have been written about our inability to do anything about these problems but it is plain fact that all the teams above us have ensured that their weaknesses have been in the main overcome with the addition of talented and young Premiership loanees looking for regular games. We have for whatever reason been unable or unwilling to do that and it will be the only reason why we wont be in the mix at the end of the season. It will be a lot harder next season to get out of the Championship as teh teams that came down last year have not done well whereas next year they will be much stronger operations that are relegated.

    The lack of initiave in our Chairman to try and use some of the profits we are making in strengthening playing weaknesses is more than disappointing.

  • number1inyorkshire

    do not be thinking that leeds united playing side, the bit that we pay our money to is not making money, it is that which is paying for the building ,the staff in the bars and the banqueting suites and all the other bits ,now i do not give a shit about bremners bar etc etc etc etc i pay for the team as do my 3 sons .if bates wants to have these things then its up to him to find investment for them and let the gate receipts fund the team