HillsboroughIt almost feels as if McDermott tempted fate when he described the 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Rochdale last week as his “worst day in football” following today’s utterly humiliating collapse at Hillsborough.

So hefty a defeat that Wednesday’s goal tally needs to be followed by the number spelt out in block capitals, just so you know the person inputting data into the vidiprinter didn’t make a typo.

Sheffield Wednesday 6 (SIX), Leeds United 0 was the final score, The Whites worst league defeat in 55 years.

That we suffered it at the hands of a local rival makes it all the more painful, but with how badly Leeds United played, the opposition didn’t really matter. Leeds were awful from back to front, the defence was as bad as I’ve ever seen, the midfield might as well have been sat on the sidelines and the wing-backs McDermott opted to stick with despite signing new wide players to address that problem still have no idea how to play the position they’re in.

I don’t wish for this to sound like sour grapes and take away from what was an excellent display from the home team. but it’s hard to praise centre-forward play when the defence they were running at was so truly abject, or to single out Wednesday’s midfield play as a telling factor because the men they were up against posed absolutely no threat.

There was a determination and cohesion to Wednesday that Leeds simply didn’t have. They attacked in numbers, moved the ball around well, defended as a team and always kept pressure on the ball when Leeds were in possession. Everything that Leeds didn’t do, basically.

Leeds got so many things wrong today that to try and isolate a root cause would be futile, it’s a mixture of things that starts with the team selection and formation and ends at individual mistakes, stupidity and a total lack of effort on the part of almost every player wearing the Leeds shirt today. I’m going to outline a few of the issues below, but what follows is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • The formation –  Leeds attempted to play some kind of 5-4-1/3-4-3 formation, only we don’t have players technically gifted enough to make it work. Or at least, they weren’t on the pitch. Instead, this left Leeds with six totally ineffective midfielders failing to shield 3 central defenders who seemed to have no idea themselves who or what area they were supposed to be covering.
  • Wing-backs - The reason the formation didn’t work is because Lee Peltier and Danny Pugh aren’t wing-backs, nor do they come close to being technically-gifted enough to compensate for their lack of natural ability in the position. Their positioning was dreadful throughout, Peltier was often far too central while Pugh rarely left midfield, thus leaving gaping holes that the already confused and clearly uncomfortable centre-backs were failing to fill.
  • Selection - The only player Leeds United have who I personally believe can play wing-back effectively is Sam Byram, yet for whatever reason (and it may be that he isn’t 100% so McDermott is being careful with him), he started on the bench. As for the opposite side, Warnock is the obvious choice because he played an attacking full-back role for most of his career, but instead we went with a midfielder and a central defender. It made no sense, and while I couldn’t have predicted the result would have been quite as bad as it was, the selection we went with was bound to be problematic.
  • Total lack of effort - McDermott got the selection and formation very, very wrong today, but that doesn’t excuse the players total lack of effort. What really set the two sides apart wasn’t what we did in possession (though we were woefully bad at that too), but what we did when out of possession. While Wednesday pressured us and pushed us into dead ends, Leeds kinda wondered around like confused and disorientated amateurs thrown in at the deep end, each and every one of them seemingly clueless as to what their role and responsibilities were in this fixture.

There are a few key moments that highlight just how bad we are at the minute, the first of which was Peltier’s lazy exit from the box for the first goal which played 5 (FIVE) Wednesday players onside. When you clear the ball from the box, every defender should be rushing forward to push the opposition back. This is the absolute basics of defending and it works because the opposition either follow you up the pitch or are in an offside position if the ball does come back. All the defence except Peltier push forward, the Wednesday players hold the line of the last man (like good attacking players should) and when Wednesday regain possession and fire the ball back over the top of our retreating back-line, Peltier is playing five of them onside.

And from there, it got worse. Much worse. Zaliukas had a nightmare game of Rachubka-esque proportions, Tom Lees was the proverbial headless chicken and Pearce (while not as bad as the other two) could have stayed home in bed for all the difference he made.

The second goal followed a similar theme, namely players not where they should be. Because we have wing-backs who can’t play the position at all, Wednesday found an acre of space from which they almost looked embarrassed to effortlessly waltz through and double their advantage.

All of this defensive misery was compounded by an abject central midfield pairing of Rodolph Austin and Alex Mowatt, both of whom were passed around like statues throughout the fixture. I can’t recall either of them putting any degree of sustained pressure on the opposition or sticking in a tackle that didn’t result in a foul.

When Leeds have been good this season, Rodolph Austin has charged around the pitch like a man possessed. It’s not pretty and it can make the play very untidy, but he’s capable of unsettling the opposition so much that Leeds gain an edge in the centre of the park. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen that kind of performance from Rudy in weeks.

Finally we come to Matt Smith’s 47 seconds on the pitch. His sending off was a bit harsh in my opinion, but at the same time, he threw himself into the side of a Wednesday defenders head 10 seconds after the ball had been cleared. I’m sure his instructions were to get on the pitch and let the Wednesday defence know he’s there, but I think him and McDermott were on a very different page with how that should be achieved. There’s no room for such stupid mistakes at this level.

I could go on and on listing examples of individual and team error to try and explain just how bad we were today, but the result speaks for itself. To a man, the entire team were awful and should start tomorrow’s training session with a whip-round to refund the cost of tickets for those unfortunate enough to have paid for the experience of witnessing it. The rest of their wages they should then donate to charity, because not one of them deserves to be earning them this week.

  • Gary Lloyd

    Totally agree with the sentiment and facts described. Absolutely dire performance. Thought Ross was the only one with any credit to his name.

    • bruce

      I felt sick watchin the game yesterday. Bottom line is that mcd got his formation wrong. He went for his wingers and 3 central def- and hoped for the best. Cameron stewart does not deserve to be at leeds. Dom p could have done bettet job. Def has to be priority as thats where the probs are. None of the cd we’ve got are good enough. Any team that has pace in attack will kill us! No brains at the back. There is also no creativity in midfield. Why not play green and brown. Green is far more creative thsn any other current mid. We need new players in this week as leic will be another defeat im sure. I live in leic and have seen them play. If u thought sheff was bad leic are ruthless!! 442 had to be with no stewart.

  • Martin

    Only just checked the score, nearly spat my drink all over the screen!

    I have faith in Brian, not sure about the players which is annoying as it won’t be them who gets booted, from what i’ve read Ross Mc’s tweet expelled more energy than any player did during the game.

    Embarrassed doesn’t really cover it, nor does any combination of swear words!

  • Chareose

    Good analisys but all this can be put down to coaching and managing players…… Unlike Martin below i no longer have faith in BM….. Is he too nice ?? Do he and his coaches actually know how to coach pass and play football…….? Our transfer targets have lacked ambition and imagination and we are crying out for a Strachen / Jones type player that doesnt completely bottle it when things get tough. WE need one of those in defence too. These players are completely demoralized and thats where leadership in the dressing room from top players and GOOD coaching comes from. None of which is evident. We will end up sacking BM before too long so it may as well be now.

    • Irving08

      Perhaps the truth is that Brian is more a coach than a Manager. Or rather he is managing as if he was a coach.

  • bd

    The article says it all hopefully most leeds fan see this and dont breathe too far down BM neck.

    The mentality of some of these players is terrible in a company you would be managed out or sacked but in football……

    Hopefully finish 8th or above then in summer get rid of bad players and bring in some decent ones. I feel we have the right manager and owners just need some time

  • Bluesman

    I don’t think that the manager, players of backroom staff have any idea how long and hard fans have to work to just go and watch a game of football. They have no conception what hard toil entails, because they just play football during the week and then don’t turn up at weekends. It is such a sad, sad situation for football generally that the fans are held in so little regard. I really do think that David Haigh should make the whole team do community service. They should give up their wages for a month and go out and provide social care, befriending services and earn £6/an hour to know what it is like in the real world. Finally, a very good analysis of the game, but I believe that there is also player dissent for the rough time they got from the fans at Rochdale. David Haigh needs to send some of them packing!

  • Chareose

    Leeds United is a big club, with huge expectation. Our fan base is incredibly frustrated and cynical (understandably so) and so we need BIG PLAYERS with big personalities. We have no David Prutton, no Gordon Strachen, no Vinnie Jones to lead the players on the pitch. Its also obvious our management cant lead the players. I have never seen such a demoralized team. Some I suspect cant be bothered but others are completely demoralized.

    • PMH

      We need to realize that these players are actually trying hard. Nobody goes out to play badly. I’m assuming they are confused about their roles and have become unglued. You can’t replace the entire team so you have to find a way to give them purpose and make them feel better. Usually that involves managerial replacement, but it is plain stupid to replace managers after every run of bad results.

      • henrymouni

        ‘trying’ can be very trying!
        They are pro’s and it’s a game of football.
        Control the ball.
        Pass, to a team member.
        Mark your man.
        CONCENTRATE!
        Shoot at the opposition’s goal.
        On target if possible – it’s big enough.
        We seem to be lacking the basics PMH.

  • White Dave

    McD is without doubt a nice guy. However, I am not convinced he can inspire players with the exception of Ross Mc, who is playing a different role this season, there has been no improvement of the players still at the club. Byram is a pale shadow of last year. Not convinced he is still injured he looks devoid of confidence. What has happened to Poleon ? – initial early season promise has disappeared. There is a definite air of desperation within the playing style. I fear this will not be resolved by the current regime. Once the rot sets in it is hard to stop.
    6 – 0 in a local derby? It cannot possibly get any worse. But then again we all thought that last week. There probably will be a reaction next week, just hope it kick starts a revival of sorts so that we don’t plummet.

  • oldschoolbably

    I admired McDermott when he didn`t sign Burke
    I accepted it when he tried 3-5-2
    However, we are seduced by watching the world`s greatest players on Sky. Most often Championship players don`t have the intelligence or ability to play beyond 4-4-2
    Why the f@’@k did he have to unwrap both his new toys and why the f@@k isn`t he reverting to 4-4-2 now he has bit of width. It wasn`t as if they merely looked uncomfortable in today`s formation. They obviously didn`t understand their roles. Confusion doesn`t nurture confidence
    I have warmed to McD and want him to succeed but he`s skating towards the thin ice

    • Irving08

      No-one now plays 3-5-2. It requires a certain vanity for a mere Championship manager to think he can make it work where so many others have failed.

    • Irving08

      I think most of us share your sentiments about Brian. But to my mind he is failing in the two areas where a Manager most needs to succeed: spotting a good player and motivating the team. His signings have not been good and he may just be a bit too understated to galvanise a team. He may already be on thin ice.

      • oldschoolbably

        Perhaps we have regrettably reached, or gone beyond, the point where decent, undemonstrative managers can succeed in motivating the modern overpaid, over pampered footballer. Maybe you have to be a descendant of Vlad the Impaler to fire them up. Have you got any Putinesque man management strategies to suggest ?

        • Irving08

          ‘Decent undemonstrative managers’ were always a rare breed in football weren’t they OS. ? But then the Thames Valley is hardly likely to breed the other sort. Brian could start by hiring a hacker to look into their accounts. All that free time…….

  • Tom

    Think it is a bit premature to be suggesting BMcD is sacked, today’s game was very painful to watch is an understatement as We were so disorganised like schoolboys.

    We play on the Blackfoot to readily, we sit too deep, allow teams to come at us, when the ball continually was going backwards to Paddy it said it all. No confidence, no one wanted the ball other than Byram and McCormack, another day where long punts upfield were the script and when you only have ten men, no one in forward positions with hope of scoring it only allowed Wednesday have the ball and build another attack.

    Desperate as other posters comment we need midfield generals and some one decent to play alongside Ross. Our players do not know what their roles are, smacks of poor tactics, organisation, leadership.
    Give McD benefit of doubt as it’s not his team as he would like it to look, but that won’t always be the case so he needs to find out what’s wrong quickly. What worked at Reading doesn’t apply to Leeds, different team and set up and expectations altogether.

    Will be eager to hear what comes out of the “clear the air” talks tomorrow.

    LUFC Always no matter what !!

  • home and away

    Byram and warnock have GOT to play, peltier shud replace lees who cant pass wind at right of the three centre backs

  • Matthew

    This whole thing is fucking embarrassing, if something doesn’t change we’ll probably get hit for 10 by Leicester, losing by 6 against the Wendies who are an awful side is easily one of the worse defeats we’ve had in many many years. There’s no hiding it, some of our players are a fucking joke and need to fuck off.

    • henrymouni

      Wednesday could have had 10.
      The most we could have had is 1!

  • macca

    I guess LUFC became fully apparent in about 1963 and since that time for me and many others its been a bit of shall we say a roller coaster. But after today I ask myself whats important in life
    Will the pension fund be sufficient to see one through retirement, will my job continue. how much will utilities etc rise in future years and probably most importantly will my health remain good etc etc.
    So why the hell should I let the performance of my football team influence my mind and mood this evening. Its very clear tthat those on the park today are happy to collect their paycheques, do they care about LUFC, in a simle word NO. If we as a collective group of fans worked in the same manner next week the P45 wouldnt be far away
    I was at Rochdale last week and basically cant believe an average SWFC land of the giants team can now be made to look so superior. New signings the words mediochrity and injury immediately spring to mind, thats not investment its basic bargain basement
    The season ticket will no doubt drive me to be there next week but the all too familiar cliches from McD could drive me to despair if I didnt consider the more important realities of life

    Have some wine on me tonight Brian and trust your fillet steak is cooked to perfection

  • john palmer

    good review its alltrue except tom lees did pretty well considering he’s been taken out of acentral position to play right of 2 idots in this 3 at back system 2nd. half and last week with out him proved the point.. 1 word for McCormack all he did was adiff. class to the rest .McDermott is looking more clueless than Wank cock diserves the sack now and take pub player Austin with him .

  • john palmer

    we don’t need another Vinnie! we have enough pub players we will soon change our name to the white horse

    • Chareose

      Vinnie Jones was a far better player than any midfielder we had on show today and he never gave up

      • Matthew

        Question is, why won’t McDermott drop Austin? He’s been awful for so long now and there is little to no point to him being on the pitch, we would do better with Michael Brown or one of our Academy players there instead of him lol

        • shez87

          McD hasn’t got the balls to drop Austin….cos he made him the captain!Face & egg comes to mind me reckons!?!

  • Mpa

    It has all been said. Where is the pride? The honour of playing in the shirt?
    Do the players really appreciate what the club means to the supporters? The way things are going, at least the fans will see plenty of goals next week!!

    • Tom

      Every player could be oozing with pride and honour at pulling on the shirt and playing for our club but if there is no leadership on the pitch, togetherness and understanding, gelling as a team playing with confidence, the tactics and formation are right to get the potential to the max of each player …..then pride and passion will change nothing without all the other ingredients being right.
      Agree with 5 Quid, we are rebuilding and it’s going to take time, no quick fix, look at Forest and Leicester, it’s not happened overnight. I think BMc needs time, hopefully owners will understand this and not make rash decisions. If McD was shown the door there is only one replacement and that is Malky Mackay IMO.
      We are miles behind other Teams who were in league one with us, Swansea, Brighton, Southampton, Norwich, Leicester, Forest; this is no fault of McD or current owners but it’s a reminder for them of what’s expected.

      • Matthew

        Although angered by the performance, I’m happy that we played like this against a lesser team rather than Leicester. Oh dear fucking Christ, could you imagine the scoreline if we put this level of performance in against Leicester?

  • Chareose

    I think the issues start at Forrest because Bryan came out and said his team were not good enough. That will have knocked his players. Around the same time he also had a war of words with Warnock about how rubbish he thought the squad was. I think this was Bryans biggest mistake so far this season. Until that point it had only been the fans busily undermining the teams confidence by slating individual players on twitter and social forums like this. The manager doesn’t believe in his players, the players don’t believe in the manager or themselves and neither do the fans. That folks is why we just got stuffed by S Wednesday. Bryan has lost the changing room.

    • PMH

      I agree that the implied message to the team has been you are not good enough. Fans don’t help by constantly harping on about January window and replacing half the team. We’re stuck with most of this lot and we had better figure out how to get them playing to their best ability.

  • Matthew

    Goal number 5 made me shake my head, okay our defense was awful today, midfield too but Lavery scored via kicking the ball through Danny Pughs legs, he didn’t even close the guy down properly. Goal number 6 the player wasn’t marked properly and had a free shot on goal. The defense was all over the place. It has to be one of the worse defensive performances in English football in a while.

  • 5_quid

    How many miracle workers do you know? I don’t know any. Brian McDermott is good coach, his record shows that and you don’t become bad over night. Whether you are brewing wine, learning a new instrument or planting a seed, it all takes time. You all seem to expect instant success, sorry life’s not like that. Give him chance to get rid of the deadwood he has inherited, give his new players chance to bed in and when it’s truly his team and they have had time learn each others play, then is the time to judge. Brian McDermott and the players feel as disappointed as you and me. They will all feel bad and their confidence will be low, what they really need now is encouragement and support. Or may be you don’t believe in teamwork and pulling together. I live in Hampshire and sadly can’t afford to travel to Elland Road, but if I could I would be there, supporting my team, getting behind them, giving them encouragement and so should you and every one who claims to be a LEEDS UNITED SUPPORTER or have you forgotten our song MARCHING ON TOGETHER. Alternatively, if you want instant success you could go and support Manchester City

    • Matthew

      No one wants instant success. You’re trying to imply that people are being fickle in their criticism, they’re not. Although I saw this coming a mile away, when you play like Conference Premier level side you will get the critics.

    • PMH

      Patience is a virtue, but putting your head in the sand is not. The team is not as bad as the last result, obviously, but it is not promotion worthy, or close to it. The Boss is supposed to organize and motivate. This lot is not responding. All the players cannot be suddenly useless. There is blame to go around.

    • Pastille

      A good coach does not exacerbate existing frailties by playing a 3 man defence that patently does not work with the personnel we currently possess, nor play two rusty wingers. Winger is a “luxury” position in the modern game and only ever worked, if you had a Bremner or a Giles in the middle to win, retain and distribute the ball effectively. Leeds do not have one single midfielder who can do all three of these basic skills. We are getting outfought week in, week out by relegation-fodder and fourth division teams. Brian’s own signings are nowhere near future-proof players who could play in the Premiership. Where is the vision or the ambition? 5 “decent” players and 30 Sunday league park-lakers. 25 games gone and we have exactly the same points as last season under Colin!!!! Who’s going to save us from relegation this year?

    • spellz

      There is instant success and there is free falling so fast you don’t have the time to see your bollocks crushed beneath you and this result is the latter, listen them players are to fault as well as Mac D is, bottom line just like in the article which states it is a mixture of things it is but I do not think Mac D needs time in order to stop a 6-0 hammering from one of the leagues worst outfits just inexcusable and I am a fan of Mc D.

    • henrymouni

      “They will all feel bad and their confidence will be low, what they really need now is encouragement and support.”
      What they need now is a banger up their behinds.
      The support for our abysmal team has been phenomenal.
      No other fans in the country would be so loyal.
      They feel bad because they are bad.
      They are overpaid and a disgrace to their profession.
      Totally outplayed by Rochdale, from the 2nd div.
      Totally outplayed by Sheff Wed, and most every other team in our league.
      They may be ‘low’ but we are lower!!
      We don’t expect instant success, and nor do we expect this gutless rubbish.

      • spellz

        “We don’t expect instant success, and nor do we expect this gutless rubbish”

        pretty much sums it up.

  • PAUL W

    I wish that the Leeds players and manager would all stop their “big talk” off the pitch, because their bottling performances on the pitch are now a huge embarrassment to the loyal Leeds fans.
    The entire Leeds defence and central midfield all look to be unfit to me and are incredibly slow at running around the pitch. The training methods have to be in question and you don’t have to be an expert to realise these problems, because they are there to be seen, week in, week out.
    I would bring back the famous cross country runs that Wilko brought in, which turned a totally unfit Bremner team, into a super-fit team that started moving forward and were no longer unfit cannon fodder.
    The entire central defence is simply not good enough and while Pearce is always being praised for his heroic challenges, he is simply not good enough for this league.
    Pearce is far too easily knocked off the ball and runs like he is in quicksand.
    The midfield has no vocal leader and is like a rudderless ship heading for the rocks.
    2 new central defenders, 2 central midfielders, a striker and a goalkeeper are still needed at Leeds.

  • John

    Utter disgrace, some of those players are not fit to wear the shirt on recent performances, but we’ve been down before let’s see how those players react and see what they’re really worth. I can handle losing it’s the way we lost where’s the fight and passion?

  • John

    Also what’s happened to Dawson? Like to see him get a game

    • Matthew

      With our current system it would shatter his confidence. For one the way we’re set up invites pressure in the centre of midfield. I’m not placing blame entirely on Austin but him running around like a chicken with its head cut off is doing us no favours. We need a strong player to put in the tackles in the middle and he isn’t doing it now. If we’re playing with 2 Wingers Dawson shouldn’t start, if we played with a 5 man midfield he might be effective. First things first, we need to stop the rot.

      • Irving08

        We shouldn’t be playing with two wingers, Mathew. Few teams do nowadays; many if not most of the best ones don’t even have any. Playing two today smacked of desperation.

        • Matthew

          Chelsea had Willian, and Hazard who are both Wingers playing yesterday. That’s just one example, many teams still use Wingers, maybe 1 or 2, depends. Just an example. Playing 2 Wingers wasn’t entirely the problem, we just have a shit midfield in general, if Austin doesn’t perform it invites pressure on our defense, Mowatt didn’t have much of a game either. Like I said we need some better CM/DM players in the team, if we had them we could play 1 or 2 Wingers and still win games.

          • Matthew

            And adding to this, I don’t particularly want to go through each teams squad list but most teams in the Premier League have Wingers in their squads and play them even. I could quote a dozen if not more. Your ‘Most of the best ones don’t have any’ point is wrong.

          • Irving08

            My impression is that teams with foreign managers don’t.

          • Irving08

            Hazard is not a conventional winger. Mourinho doesn’t play with them. They are an expensive luxury. Mobile players who can move along the front or middle lines are anothe matter. Speed merchant wingers or even pure dribblers like Snoddy can be shephered into dead areas by pacy defenders (see Aidy White versus Arsenal and Spurs). Watch Knockeart next week – plays wideish but he’s not a winger as such. A midfield has to be super duper to play with two pure wingers. Even Revie’s team was at tis most effective – 1973-4 – when it played with just one wing man (Lorimer) and he was a converted inside forward !

  • Tom

    All I would like is for McD, or someone in the dressing room to tell us what the f**k is going on but I know we will never know the answer because like every football club the fans are the last to know anything.

    Something has changed significantly for the worse at Leeds and Rochdale and Harrogate results with today’s embarrassment are clear indications to support my opinion. Over to you LUFC the fans expect.

  • spellz

    Well put article, I think this article should be just one sentence though………

    Our last two matches GF – 0 GA – 8, Rochdale and Sheff Wed I mean WTF?
    somebody remind these excuse my french…. CUNTS how much they get paid a week to represent one of Englands most decorated teams.

  • Kevvo

    B M’D should have sent the team coach back with the kit man on and made the Muppets walk back to E.R. Theyre a pathetic disgrace,Billy must have turned in his grave yesterday.

  • Tare

    Sorry to say I do not see any reason to put too much blame on the Whites; they totally deserved thrashing Yesterday but we must move on. Players do not became bad in overnight or even weeks but if the reason (as I think) is between ears well this is McD and staff issue. What made this sudden change from PO six back hopeful to near collapsing one? If there is any conspiracy theory going on then this seems perfect time for it… Something has been happened lately but what?

    Tare

    • henrymouni

      Bad players do not become good players overnight, Tare.
      We are riddled with players who are slow of body and mind.
      Who cannot control the ball, or pass it 5 yards to one of our team members.
      We lack the courage to play through the midfield.
      The ‘get rid’ ball is our favourite,
      We are one of the worst footballing sides in the league.
      Although we are not picking points up just now, we were not playing well, even when we were winning.
      As Eddie said on Saturday, even when we won at Charlton, they were the better team.
      We had 4 shots (Ross!) and got 4 goals.

      • Tare

        Henry, I have put my views here readable, anyone who has watched football in any level MF is the key point. Once again I have to say let us put the home grown players to the pitch and give them last of the season to perform. CD, LW with youthful arrogance to show some grit and determination. If we really have a season next to wait for promotion well why not?

        Tare

        • henrymouni

          We don’t have the kids good enough yet.
          Mowett is struggling already, and Dawson is not strong enough yet.

          • Irving08

            OH Henry, they have the arrogance of youth to go with obvious talent; that is enough. Maybe they need a young Michel Brown alongside them, but that is all.

          • henrymouni

            Who are ‘they’ Irv?
            There is no one any where near the standard apart from Mowett and Dawson, and they should come into their own next season.
            If we had any others they would be on the bench, at least.

          • Irving08

            But only if they are both eased in this season. Yes, I plead guilty to a little exaggeration. However, I believe Fleetwood (as were Inverness) are in raptures (there I go again) about young Taylor (whom, I suspect, BM rates too).

          • mrbigwheels

            Raptures Irving…. can’t beat ‘em. Wish most of the squad would have one.

          • Irving08

            Put Blondie in there, she’d sort out the men from the boys, MBW.

  • maxwatson

    I think McDermott is a long way from the sack, but his formation was just inexplicable. The only excuse I can come up with is that, with two new players coming in within the previous 48 hours, and an obvious intent to start them, whatever formation he played was going to be unfamiliar to the players, so he really decided to push the boat out. But the outcome is a loss of 3 points and a vital loss of goal difference, to the extent that Reading moved up a position without kicking a ball.

    Going through the side:

    – Kenny had an off-day but that may have been the difference between 6 and maybe 3 or 4. The continued lack of organisation though in a defence of which he’s a part might in some way be down to him? To take a comparison, when Robinson replaced Martyn, irrelevant of the comparative technique, we seriously missed Martyn’s defensive organisation and this contributed to our decline in the later O’Leary days.

    – Defence (back 3). Personally I don’t rate Zaliukas anyway, and yesterday he was terrible. He’s meant to be the senior guy in a 3 (or 5) man defence, and – setting aside his personal contribution, which was abysmal – it’s completely disorganised. Get in someone, either via the goalkeeper or an experienced centre half, to run the defence, not just play as a defender. And get Radebe in as defensive coach while at it. I think Pearce, Wootton and Lees are all OK, personally I’d take Lees out of the 3 but as a set of young defenders I think we’re pretty well served, we just don’t have a wise head in the middle of them.

    – Wing backs. I think McDermott’s strategy is to stand by players who do what he asks of them, hence Peltier and Pugh. Problem is, they can do the bare minimum and stay in the team, hence Peltier and Pugh. The view seems to be that Peltier is a better defender than Byram. Most of us have yet to see the evidence, but he surely isn’t so much better that it compensates for his lack of attacking vim. And despite the plethora of left backs bequeathed by Warnock, Pugh can’t defend, Warnock is too slow to cover the space required for a wing back, White seems to be technically deficient in some way and nobody has seen enough of Taylor to comment. Drury (as far as I can remember) is similar to Peltier – barely competent defender, no attacking capability and painfully slow. If going to a more conventional 4-4-2 with full backs I would take Byram and Warnock, the latter for set pieces where we seem to lack decent takers also.

    – Central midfield. Mowatt and Murphy are at least competent and its difficult to tell to what extent Austin is holding either of them back. I would suggest McD enter into Prozone a query which tells him, not only how often Austin’s passes go astray (which he surely knows) or how often a wasted shot gives away possession, but also when his passes actually reach someone in the same shirt, how many of them are lost by the recipient within a couple of seconds, because his specialty is random long passing and short hospital passes. It is a waste of time playing someone as a ball winner when he gives the ball away more often than he wins it. Please drop him. Of the score or so other central midfield players from the Warnock era, I would keep Green (doesn’t seem to be a McDermott player though) and get rid of the rest. I’d also like to see Dawson and Thompson given runs from the bench.

    – Wingers. New concept. They were anonymous on Saturday but seem to have been played as inside forwards in front of a physically absent midfield and a mentally absent defence. We now have 3 and also potentially Byram and Green can play at right midfield so should be able to play some variant of 4-4-2 which the players understand.

    – Attack. Most of us were I think surprised to see only McCormack, an excellent player but not a holding or (in the absence of a centre forward) linking attacker, up front by himself except for two brand new, utterly confused and out of position wingers. If you review videos of Hunt actually scoring goals, they all seem to come from crosses. In the absence of anyone else (I’m very dubious Smith will get that straight red rescinded, but at any rate he seems to have zero rapport with McCormack) I would give Hunt a go. Poleon has in my opinion been unfairly written off, but is 2 or 3 years away from being the finished article (and could do to go on loan somewhere goals are easy, to build his confidence and his range of tricks – L2 rather than L1 maybe). Varney needs to go. Diouf feels like he has already gone. McCormack should be made captain for the next game. It’s concerning by the way that Huddersfield can get Wells, and there is a nagging feeling at the back of my mind that we still don’t have much money to play with. Barnes seems to have been a candidate more for his availability and relative cost than his quality (and we still didn’t get him). His goal:game ratio is around 1 goal in 4 games, both for his career and also if you just look at recent seasons, which strikes me as very low for a specialist striker.

    I also think the board should think about getting a guy on the coaching staff to provide some continuity, having observed the massive discontinuity between Grayson then Warnock then McDermott, and put in Eddie Gray alongside the manager.

    • Tare

      Max, Luke Murphy and Rudi Austin has been in a modest mood lately and we have now MF at the moment. I am sure that they are not the axis of evil but needs some resting anyway. We should look for next season and build up based on our U21/Academy products and look for promotion next year.

      Tare

      • Irving08

        I concur with the apporoach, but I would say the year after. But now it is difficult to take that route since Brian has gone out and signed more players than was necessary, taking into account the whole playing staff at this disposal. I refuse to believe that Green, Norirs and Varney, for instance, could not have served us sufficiently well this season, to allow Brian the space to bring on our U21 products. Instead he has clogged up the works with pretty ordinary players who are certainly no better and very possibly inferior to what we already had.

    • Irving08

      Excellent analysis. And I totally agree with the last point. Eddie Gray would have cautioned against gumming up the works with less basic talent than our own products. He might also have shielded him againat vox populi aka Radio Leeds, whose journalists have put BM under unecessary pressure ‘to get new players in’. How many players does a club need, for God’s sake ? Brian has not helped himself by rising to the bait of Warnock.

  • Joedqf

    Funny thing about Rochdale and Shef Wed. In isolation those are obviously awful results.

    Then you look at the table. What have we lost exactly? 3 points gone and an early exit from a competition we had no chance of winning. This is our lowest ebb for a while (then again how many times have we said that in the past 10 years) but incredibly it’s not even the end of this season’s promotion push.

    I’m not pretending what happened on Saturday wasn’t one of the worst performances by any Football team I have ever seen in my life. But it’s just one game. We’ve proven this season that we can play better. Mcdermott has proven himself a mostly good and devoted manager. We’ve got young players who maybe need more time, but are nonetheless extremely promising talents.

    6-0? It’s all uphill from here.

    MOT

    • Matthew

      Stop making excuses, there are none to make up for the awful displays that have occurred, if any single player has a chip on his shoulder, he should put in his transfer request and fuck off as far as im concerned. I would rather see a bunch of shit/average players go out there and play for the shirt then a bunch of muppets dragging the team down. We’re Leeds United, for every whiny cunt that plays shit for us, there’s a 100 or more players who would love to join us, it’s about time some of these players realized what the shirt actually means. It’s not just a pay cheque.

      • PMH

        Leeds is important to you and me, but you can’t expect a recently hired player to have loyalty to “the shirt”. And that is most of them. You can expect them to do as they’re told and work hard, because that’s the job. The performances have been horrendous, but I would be very surprised if we have any lazy players. You just don’t get to be a professional football player if you don’t work hard. Seriously confused and with their confidence shot to pieces is more like it. Us fans have to realize that Leeds is a big club, and it is an honour to play for us, but it is also a real pressure cooker with high expectations and fans who are passionate. Not every player is cut out for that kind of situation. If they can’t handle it best to go, but there is no point in abusing them.

        • Matthew

          Nothing short of 100 percent effort is good enough for any player wearing the Leeds United shirt, not 10 percent, not 50 percent, 100 percent each and everytime, and if you’re injured then you should do your best but if you can’t give it your all, you don’t deserve to wear the shirt. We should be on players like white on rice. Our players should be playing like their lives depended on it, hell they should be wanting the football like it’s a solid block of gold. Possession of something valuable should be retained and when we don’t have it, we should be showing blood, sweat and tears to get it back. Nothing short of this is good enough.

          • PMH

            Anyone playing for Leeds will find out that an honest effort will be appreciated, even if the results are not ideal. The fans are really quite fair. However, it’s a fact that we don’t perform at our best if we are too keyed up. This is where the old chicken with head cut off analogy comes from. I would like Leeds players to work hard and concentrate on the task at hand. I don’t want them frothing at the mouth because that gets you sent off, doesn’t it Matt Smith. And chasing the ball mindlessly for 90 minutes is not doable either (Rudy) because you’re bound to run out of steam before the match is over.

    • henrymouni

      Joe, we have been poor all season, as far as performances go.
      Yes, we had a little run and picked up points, but our play has been erratic, with a lot of effort but very little skill.
      Where would we be without Ross’s goals?
      Where would we be without Paddy’s big saves?
      Eddie Gray himself, said recently that the points we have trawled have covered up the cracks.
      Let’s not kid ourselves.

  • Tare

    Next Saturday v foxes18012014 and following one v tractor boys 28012014 are instrumental one for the management staff. Our credibility is at stake there and it means basically that results are needed. They say that leaders will raise when all the odds are against v them like in war time environment e.g. the Winter War Sovjet Union

    v Finland or Battle of Britain Germany v England.

    Nevertheless January 2014 is a divider in a way so it is interesting to see what happens.

    Tare

  • PMH

    What to do now? Here’s what not to do: panic. Replacing the whole team is panicking. Firing the manager is panicking. Bringing on unproven young players may not be panicking but it is foolish. These are exactly the players who you can ruin easily. They simply are not ready for the LUFC pressure cooker. Probably there is room for one key acquisition and that needs to be a veteran “tough as nails” central midfielder. We don’t need super skill we just need a steady hand who’s seen it all. Plus, BMcD needs to find a formation and strategy that players can understand and buy into. I sense that they are all at sea at the moment. They need to focus on defence and structure: forget goal scoring for the moment because we can score only if we get the ball. Next, get Diouf fit and in the team. Too much talent to be sitting out. Austin needs a couple of weeks off to calm down and figure out his role.

    • Irving08

      But Bryam was unproven; and he wasn’t ruined by last season, not mentally anyway. Aidy White has not been ruined by the ‘pressure cooker’, but by bad management. Older players are not necessarily the most resilient either; they may have too many bad memories. We all know this from our own walks of life. In other words, every player is different and each has to be examined on his own merits. But of course the pressure is great for everyone concerned and your other prescriptions are precise and to the point, especially regarding ‘a hard as nails midfielder’ – who would take care of the younger lads !

      • Matthew

        Been saying we needed a midfield player like that for a while.

  • NottsWhite

    Spot on TSS, lack of effort from the players, poor tactical selection from the manager and probably little time to communicate the master plan due to shoe horning in two wingers whilst still trying to maintain the wing back tactic (I use the term widely as it is more 5 at the back than wing backs). BMcD needs to grasp that we are losing games from midfield as team are running through us and exposing our soft underbelly that is our defence

  • mrbigwheels

    The dust is settling… slightly… and my view through the haze is a vision of a smarmy pot less ownership with a bucket of spin, bubbly promises and cheesy grins… a team of mid table playing staff, half of them drawing their weekly LUFC Giro, with the other half of them wondering… ‘watsup?, it wasn’t my fault’… and a very pleasant manager who offers tremendous dedication and loyalty, perhaps looking for the room with the sign on the door that says…

    ”THE GROW A PAIR SUITE”

    Just get in there Brian and come back out a man with a bloody ruthless mission!. MOT.
    Cut and chop, go slash and burn.. Stop being nice and put you’re foot in to one and all.
    .
    Man up and be better for it…

    • Irving08

      Or, In the immortal words of the Kop, ‘Get into them, **** them up’, Brian.

  • Leeds fan in Newcastle

    To change manager would be to fail, consistency makes more sense but a draw at this stage would be huge progress to stop the rot. We are still well within range of play off places and lots to play for. Its the fragility of the team, particularly in defence that is so worrying after great run before Christmas.
    Stick with Mc Dermott as a good manager, and ensure the rot stops in next two games.

    • PMH

      Problem is that most managers aren’t given enough time to even know if they are good or not. McD wasn’t at Reading long enough to really know how he stacks up over the long haul. He says the right things, but the on field performance says something else. If he can get Leeds back into respectability this weekend, that would be an accomplishment. Conceding two goals or less is my standard here, I’m not expecting a win.