I’ve been watching football for a lot of years now and it’s rare you see a team dominate so completely and lose the match. I left Elland Road absolutely stunned yesterday, and after re-watching the match in full today I still can’t understand how we managed to lose.

The entire team was just incredible, an absolute credit to the shirt. A Southampton fan on Twitter described Leeds United as the best team they’ve played all season, and I can well believe it too. I’ve seen every team in this division and I doubt any of them could beat the Leeds United side we saw yesterday – there’d be Premier League sides that would struggle!

The biggest difference was that we defended from the front. Southampton were barely allowed to draw breath before a player in white was snapping at their heels, and I lost count of the amount of times we turned over possession in midfield.

The only goal of the game came courtesy of Rickie Lambert who volleyed home in style to give Saints the lead against the run of play. A quality finish but the defending will be brought into question. I don’t want to be too critical however as it was the only mistake we made all game and Lambert is a totally different class from any other striker in this division.

1-0 up and Southampton made two changes at half time which tells you everything really. They had to try and get a foothold in the game, but Leeds United continued to play them off the park.

On any other day, this would have ended 5-1 but it just wasn’t to be. Fate seemed to be conspiring against Leeds United. There were multiple chances for The Whites, like Aidy White failing to connect to a ball fired across the front of goal, but when the crossbar came to Southampton’s rescue twice in 5 seconds, you just knew it wasn’t going to be Leeds’ day.

To a man, the players were outstanding and there’s no real need to single anyone out but a quick note for Danny Webber who looks like he could be the signing of the season. He came on as a second half substitute and played sensationally well, giving all his doubters plenty of food for thought.

Defeated, but undeservedly so. To play so well and lose must be absolutely gutting for the players, but each and every one of them did Leeds United proud and deserve nothing but praise. I don’t know what Neil Warnock said to them at full time, but it must have been one of the hardest team talks he’s ever had to give – what can you say to a team that’s given absolutely everything, dominated completely and somehow lost?

The NSFW video below sums things up perfectly.

Rate The Players

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  • Ozwhite

    Best team performance i’ve seen in years! And as a bonus for me the middlesbrough game is televised! First time I’ve seen consecutive games in close to 10years!

    • Matt

       @Ozwhite They won’t be consecutive as we have hull to play on tuesday!

      • Ozwhite

        @Matt Two games in two weeks is about as good as it gets for me I’ve seen 4 this year and they’ve all been at 4am the boro is at 11pm I’m in heaven

  • Northernoctopus

    Give it your all and show us you care….thats all we ask for as Leeds fans.

  • Reid_er

    Spot on with the defending from the front TSS. It’s the first thing I noticed watching the game. Its very similar to what Martin O’Neil brought to Sunderland and they went from religation candidates to potential european challengers very fast. Good times ahead and I’d say the Hammers are more than a little nervous about coming to Elland road. Really hope the crowds start coming back too. They made a difference in that match so what would an extra 10,000 do?

  • WIll23

    Didn’t see the game live or on TV. But from what I’ve read from fans who were there it would appear to show  what a different manager can do with the same group of players. Meanwhile, down Leeds Road to the village on the hill, much head shaking is going on. ;-)
     
     
     

    • TSS

       @WIll23 Yeah, seems SG is finding it difficult to stop Huddersfield surrendering leads. He’ll get there though, he’s taken two teams out of that division and did so with the best defensive record us – people forget that. Maybe it’ll be next season when he’s had chance to recruit some of his own players though? 

  • Tyler75

    If that’s what we’ve got to look forward to from a Warnock Leeds, bring it on ! Up and at ‘em football of the highest order. Once NW gets the dominant centre-half and non nonense, attacking right back he’s looking for, we’ll seriously be in business. This is a glimpse into a bright future, the onus is now on Ken to back his Manager and to repair relations with the fanbase to get everybody pulling in the same direction.  

    • TimPM

       @Tyler75 I’ve wobbled about Connolly over the seasons now. I thought he was by far our most solid option of the back four until we got O’Brien in our first season back, but then the amount of holes he left meant I wasn’t surprised he was dropped by Grayson fairly early this season – it’s something Derby fans criticised him on to us when we sigend him.
       
      But, Warnock’s pushing this “know your job” philosophy and while Grayson seems to have had an immediate effect with Udders’ defence, Warnock’s teams aren’t renowned for being leaky. Maybe Connolly can flourish under him? He’s always been good supporting Snoddy on the right, and if Webber can play Snoddy’s current role that’d bring another good partnership back into the team?
       
      Not sure myself, I’m on the fence atm…

      • EYLEEDS

        @TimPM @Tyler75 To be fair Connolly wasn’t much worse then anyone else when he got dropped and could do ok within an organised defence. I much prefer him to Bromby who only goes for the long ball and he supports Snoddy far better going forward.

        Our defensive problems have started in midfield leaving the back four too exposed so everyone should share in the blame.

        Very difficult to find good cheap defenders at the best of times so I’m not holding my breath the NW will manage to bring anyone in at this stage of the season.

  • Captaincrash

    Passionate display all round, great to see. Off to ‘Ull and Boro we go..

  • EYLEEDS

    On another day we would have walked away comfortable winners. Snoddy played far better whenever he popped up out wide and I reckon Colin needs to rethink playing him behind the strikers.
    Clayton was back to his best and Connolly looked like he had a point to prove and did well.
    Some dodgy ref decisions fired up the crowd and surely Bates can see what 35k passionate Leeds fans can offer.
    Eat some humble pie Bates, treat the fans with some respect and back the manager. Surely not too much to ask?

    • TimPM

       @EYLEEDS With Webber performing like that, if he can get his match fitness up maybe he’ll give Warnock the option?

    • mattbb1

       @EYLEEDS snoddy should play in the role kewell used to, a winger who drifts in to centre  as opposed to making a dash for the corner flag and crossing. I also think he needs to play him on the left – he is a left footed player.

  • number1inyorkshire

    i understand the sentiments but its not up top southampton to score our goals .we had more than enough chances to win it 4-5 even 6 nil ,they had 1 ..
    so NEIL i know how they one it we didnt score a small percentage of our chances ..
    thats not a critiscm because i thought we were fantastic ,the smaller crowd made a fantastic noise .
    I said in a post before its up to the team to get the crowd going and they did ,well done to the team and management for managing to get beat but keep us the fans happy when often we are pissed when we have won .
    Fantastic performance lets have more please just like it

  • HampshireWhite

    If only we can keep up that level of performance for the last 12 games – very few teams will take even a point from us.
    At that level 30 points from the run-in is doable. That would definitely put us in the play-offs.
    Sadly the only consistent thing about the championship this season is how inconsistent everyone’s been.
    A similar performance against Hull, Middlesboro and the Hammers and we’ll really be on a roll!!!!!

    • mikelufcbastardbatesout

       @HampshireWhite 
      There is no possibility of us getting into the playoffs if we win every remaining match s we are now in the position of depending on others to fail which does not look too likely at the moment.

      • HampshireWhite

         @mikelufcbastardbatesout The maximum points needed to make the play-offs since 2004-5 is 75 – minimum 70. Given the inconsistencies in performance this year, 8 wins and two draws should get us there.
         
        The teams above us have to play each other to some extent, and many of them have to play us!
        I know I’m dreaming – but sometimes dreams come true!!
         

        • Captaincrash

          Would love to believe but I think we now will fall short by about 4/5 points. Agree re GMcG though that a squad with belief going into the summer can be a squad with belief and promotion credentials coming out of the summer. Just hope Snod and Rossco buy into that way of thinking!!!

  • Colin

    Southampton had a poor day at the office, but even so, Leeds battered them. Nigel Adkins looked like a rabbit in the headlights. He didn’t know what was going on.
    Problem is we’re now 6 points off the Play-offs. Maybe in a way, that helps. Maybe Warnock told them to not worry about pressure or making mistakes, and just go for it, 100%, all of the time, because the only chance of promotion is if Leeds just go out there and take it to the other team.
    Leeds played like it was a Cup Final, pushing everyone forward. I think we know the style of play for the remaining games of the season.
    6 points adrift, but showing a bit of promise and a lot of fight. One team normally flies into the Play-offs right at the end. That can’t be us, can it? It can’t happen, can it?

    • mikelufcbastardbatesout

      It certainly can but try and pick which of the ones above us will fall short if any.

    • Tyler75

      I think Southampton are average at best and our boys playing at the top of their game illustrated that. I think the play offs may just be out of reach but what a platform for next season ! However never say never, Leicester still think they are in with a good shout and they’re below us ! As it stands I think West Ham and Birmingham will go up automatically with Southampton, Reading & Blackpool definitely in the play offs and sixth up for grabs.

      • Madkins

         @Tyler75 Southampton are at average at best!?!? The stats prove otherwise. No one has scored more goals than, won more games than us or lost less games than us. We have the top scorer in the league, and have two of the three players nominated for player of the year.
         
        We were terrible at the weekend, just like you were terrible at our place on the opening day of the season. The difference is, we took our chances on the opening day, and you didn’t at the weekend. 
         
        You have always had a pretty decent front 6, but the back four still looks shaky. IMO Lees looks decent, but O’Dea is suspect, you need a new RB, and I’m still not convinced by the keeper who is prone to errors. 
         
        I’m all up for optimism for your own team, but no need for the sly dig at a side that have convincingly beaten you once this season, as they have done to many other sides as well. 

        • Tyler75

           @Madkins No sly dig intended – no arguing with Southampton’s stats this season  and Lambert and Lallana in particular have been outstanding – but the overrall  quality of the Championship this season is much lower.  Clearly evidenced by the fact that we are still in with a (distant) shout of the play offs and we’ve been a shadow of the team we were last season. Compared to Swansea, Norwich and QPR (and even Cardiff and Reading) last season, Southampton are not in the same bracket.  

        • Madkins

           @Tyler75 That’s an opinion. I would agree that the overall standard has dropped, but I think we are certainly no worse than Norwich were, and Reading have replaced Mills with a more competent defender in Gorkss, and replaced Long with Roberts. The latter is a weakening there, but Long was never regarded that highly by their fans.
           
          Cardiff have got worse, but there position reflects that, and even, like you say yourselves have got worse, but again your position does reflect that. The likes of Boro, Hull, Brum and Blackpool are very competitive sides. West Ham are comparable to QPR in quality and style.

        • Chareose

           @Madkins
           southampton are a good team, maybe not as individually good as some but their league position is no lie…….  i beleive warnock could get us the same way but the timing is great with ken bates still pulling our strings and snodgrass likely to leave us at the end of the season

  • Tyler75

    One thought about Aidy White. Not sure where he fits in in a 4-2-3-1 system; he’s not decisive enough going forward nor strong enough defensively (Pugh was excellent yesterday). When Webber’s match fit I’d expect him to be one of the 3 behind Becchio.  

  • GMcG

    As individuals, were the defenders really as bad as the goals conceded column suggested? As TimPM wryly points out, the Larry effect seems to have hit ‘udders already, surrendering a three goal lead on Saturday. For me the cure to our defensive woes was always a case of basic organisiation and a settled line up both of which Grayson seemed unable or unwilling to do. Master Bates left it far too late for us this year but we all know what a change of manager can inspire.
     
    If Bradley Johnson can be considered not good enough to be worth an extra couple of quid a week from us in the 2nd Division yet Paul Lambert can make him the player with the 4th highest number of starts (shocking but true – check the stats!) at a mid-table Premier League team, then what can a fired up new manager and philosophy do for the likes of Snodgrass, Clayton, McCormack, Becchio and the whole defensive unit.
     
    We’ve lost important players since the start of the season in Gradel and Howson but even now and particularly with the kind of effort that was put in against Southampton we still have a more than capable core group of players. 
     
    My guess – and hope – is that if can we build up a head of steam between now and the end of the season and show that we really can compete with the better sides then the players mentioned above will be more than happy to commit to a potentially glorious full season with Warnock.

    • Chareose

      thats a nice dream mate but ken bates is involved so dont expect it to be rosy

  • dhoward1

    Keep playing like that then we still have an outside shot but 12 games left, even if we play well in all of them which again i can’t see happening we will need about 8 or 9 wins!!  
    Still i like how we defended from the front and played some nice stuff, some people have said it was bad defending for there goal, yes there was a bit of ball following before the cross went in but if you look at Lamberts movement, he gave himself space incase the knock back did go his way and it did, well played if you ask me. Anyone think that having a fit Somma playing in that game we would have won? He may not be the hardest working forward but guarenteed he would have took at least one of those chances yesterday, he could be like a new signing next season.

  • Colin

    My concern with Warnock’s approach is that he has a plan to get the club promoted, and okay, that’s great, but what then? Southampton and Swansea and Norwich before them had a plan to develop a squad over time with strong players under their existing manager. So Warnock plans to get the team promoted and leave? Then a new guy comes into a new club, with players he doesn’t know and didn’t pick and he’s expected to keep them up? Not so sure about it.
     
    I can see a difference in clubs in the current Championship – I think you can put clubs into one of a variety of categories. Here’s my thoughts.
     
    Treading Water – No direction, often with high wages and overrated players and often feature clueless managers that look frustrated after every single game.
    Nottm Forest
    Derby
    Ipswich
    Leicester
     
    Awful –Awful football, awful players, Awful clubs whose main aim is to just stay up and avoid relegation.
    Doncaster 
    Coventry
    Bristol City
    Peterborough
    Barnsley
    Millwall
     
    In the red – Clubs that either don’t have any money or have spent money they never had in the first place. These clubs don’t like opening bills.
    Watford
    Portsmouth
     
    That sounds like a plan – Clubs with a long term plan to strengthen their squad and move forward.
    Southampton
    West Ham
    Reading
    Blackpool
    Middlesbrough
    Birmingham
    Brighton
    Burnley
    Crystal Palace
     
    Dirty poo pile – A place to stick clubs that don’t fit into any other category or are managed by Nick Barmby.
    Cardiff
    Hull
     
    I guess we were in Treading Water and moving towards That sounds like a plan.