With the Whites still lacking players in several key positions and expected to strengthen further before the transfer window closes, expectations were tempered by a feeling the squad is unfinished and not fully prepared as Leeds started their 2014/15 campaign at Millwall.

The team was essentially a mix of new recruits who’ve had little time to find their feet and no experience in Championship football alongside the remnants of last season’s squad, many of whom you feel are serving as placeholders ’til Massimo brings in their replacements and sadly, the performance and result reflected that. It won’t be acceptable to most Leeds United fans that we’re not better prepared at this stage, but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly our starting XI changes and how many of the players lining up for Millwall are still featuring in our starting line-up in May.

That’s the predicament Leeds United are currently in. Massimo Cellino’s ownership may bring a bit of stability to a club who’ve long since forgotten what that looks like, but there’s going to be a necessary transitional period first and that won’t aid our quest for a decent finish to the campaign.

In the meantime there’s plenty to work on, not least of which is the all round level of performance. This looked more like a Leeds United side heading towards the end of the season with nothing left to play for than one who are starting afresh and want to impress the hierarchy in hope that they won’t be replaced before the transfer window closes.

Naturally, our defence remains useless and a major point of concern making the collapse of Frederik Sorensen’s proposed loan deal even more disappointing, but it’s not just the defence where Leeds were found wanting. The midfield still longs for creativity, the lack of natural wide players severely limits our game and we have no one up front who I can see hitting the 20 goal mark, never mind replace the 30 goals Ross McCormack scored – not that we created enough chances for anyone to demonstrate otherwise.

It’s difficult to attribute blame and put the poor performance on any one factor. Some will argue that David Hockaday is the problem, others will blame Cellino for failing to plug the right holes with round pegs quickly enough, and of course, the players too can be held accountable. But until things settle down, the new players find their feet in this division and we finish our recruitment drive, we’re still a work in progress and that means we’re basically starting the season with a handicap.

All of this means that in the short-term, a few poor performances and bad results are to be expected and Hockaday can be afforded a bit of breathing space before we start an onslaught of criticism. But such patience comes with its own cost. However willing we may be to accept the consequences of this transitional process, we’re still going to expect improvements with each passing game.

If there was one positive here it’d be Silvestri who looks to be a very athletic goalkeeper (which is a more noticeable trait after watching Paddy Kenny for so long), he seemed eager to get involved and made a couple of good saves. While he did concede twice and this won’t have been the début of his dreams, the first goal conceded was a result of careless defending which left him with no chance and the second came from a penalty.

Ajose and Duokara – the new forwards – didn’t get the chances to make an impact on the scoreline owing to the total lack of service and Millwall’s dominance of the game. We did see youngster Lewis Cook though he too had little chance to make a positive impact and will want to forget this one quickly having conceded the penalty that led to Millwall’s second.

Overall, a disappointing but not unexpected result. Huge amounts of work still to be done and a vast improvement needed quickly if Leeds are to stand any chance this season.

On and on…

  • MickB

    Fair assessment without knee jerk reaction.

  • igiveup

    This isn’t a knee jerk reaction just the plain and simple truth…relegation fodder!

  • Gray

    From the time i saw the team sheet with warnock wooton and …… Hunt for gods sake i knew we wouldnt win!!! Get back in sort out sorenson what ever the cost offer £1 million for Cooper and get Billy Sharp in AND if Delfort is stalling on a deal to go to Charlton steam in there and get him!! If Byram is going that will make £21 million from two transfers just sitting in the bank?

    • carl

      gray almost spot on wooton useless,hunt total chaos,tongue predictable and slow.It amazes me that all the fans seem to know how bad these players are but the people who pick the team whomever they are do not it beggars belief.I would have played sylvestri in goal with byram, pearse and beradi alongside him warnoch left back only because we have no other option as i had to put beradi alongside pearse ,austin in front of back four benedidic right midfield sully left side smith up front ajose with him in free role murphy middle of midfield some square pegs in round holes but a lot more balanced than what we had.By the way lets not murder cellino what he has done for this club financially has been first rate ,ok he shoots from the lip most times and speaks before deals are complete but i for one see how much he wants leeds to succed his one major mistake was appointing hockaday and lewis he should have gone for dicanio, and before all you dicanio haters jump on the band wagon the man is full of energy is ferocious on the touchline and you have to admire how he fronted up to the sunderland fans on the pitch just look at swindon ,small club and he did a great job because he takes no prisoners and players who sulk go and the gifted pros stay for the fight.

  • Sameoldsameold

    Why buy new players and not pick them?
    Why play the same old shite from last season?
    Why employ a Sunday team coach?
    Always do what you always did and you will get what you always got!,
    What a fantastic season this is going to be………..

  • ropey wyla

    Have to agree with Gray, major transfer surgery required, practically no one at the club is really good enough to play for Leeds so we might as well sell the one player that is and use the dollar to buy a whole defence. Wooton should be sacked for his attitude to his job and his total lack of ability, guess it’s not surprising when you consider where his career started.

  • lufcboy

    Hockaday “we could have got something from the game”. Not from where I was sitting mate. We passed the ball without going anywhere but backwards. Why was Noel Khunt playing fucking useless. The team deserved to be booed off. Ajose looked OK and you could see that Matt Smith was putting in a shift. Smith face said it all at times. The Keeper done OK but seemed to hook goal kicks and clearances out of play. Hockaday and Junior looked clueless. When we played Dundee Doukara looked OK but I think he needs the ball at his feet and not head height and above. Overall probably the worst game football I’ve witnessed for a while. You can’t blame a soul who does not want to join Leeds or who wants to leave we are worse than last year. It’s going to be a long season. Maybe Don Goodman is right. Also Nile Ranger was allegedly spotted in the way end – maybe he’s a Leeds fan haha.

  • bruce

    Good article. Balanced and fair. My concern is will the fans accept that its going to take time. You cannot blame them for being down because some feel there is no light showing at the end of the tunnel.If we had a coach with a proven track record and some feeling of credibility I would be more comfortable. Cellino should be concentrating on the club and leave the playing side to a manager (I Hate the word coach, its bloody american) trouble is we don’t have one. The reality is straightforward, we either successfully rebuild which won’t be overnight, or we sink into the abyss.I believe it will take two seasons and this one is about building the foundations and putting the structures in place. Forget promotion, forget the premiere. Cellino is not a Russian millionaire and we are a universe away from being a Man U or Man City. All you fans who think of nothing but promotion need a dose of reality. When we are up in the playoff zone playing well then fair enough but right now we are a bit of a Sunday League side, sorry but its true.

  • Hock the Cock

    Our line-up should have been:
    Silvestri,
    Byram,Pearce,Wootton,Berardi
    Austin,Cook,
    Murphy,
    Doukara,Ajose
    Smith

  • Tim

    I respect Tony Cottee on the Sky Sports panel and he was asked if he thought the players would play for Hockaday. He was covering the match and said he would answer that question after 20 minutes of the game. He was not asked until about the hour mark and his answer was an emphatic ‘no they are not’. This is a worry in itself and probably demonstrates as you said that half the selected team are temporarily ‘filling places’.
    We can’t comment particularly on the forwards as they were isolated for most of the match, but I think it is now time to give up on Hunt and add him to the list of Wooten, Austin, Tongue, Warnock, Kenny and Norris for the exit door although I suspect they may all well be with us until their contracts run down. Murphy is a great disappointment and we should note that both he and Wooten were marquee signings for McDiarmid along with Hunt and the departed Stewart and Kebbe.
    Quality recruits are now extremely urgent and Cellino needs to bite some bullets to get transfers or loan arrangements over the line preferably this coming week. If we quickly get six or nine points off the pace it will be difficult to pull back with teams smelling we are an easy touch.
    Bianchi was a big miss yesterday and generally I thought Hockaday’s selection lacked bravery. We could have done with six substitute changes! We all know he will be gone and it’s just a question of sooner or later. For me Cellino has miscalculated and made a mistake and he should apologise and put it right. This is Championship English football far removed from his 22 years at Cagliari, a backwater small club on an isolated island in the Mediterranean.
    Byram’s head has been turned and for me he was elsewhere yesterday and will be gone if the price is right – as things stand who can blame him for seeking Premier football now and it seems Sunderland is his preference. If you had the chance would you play for Hockaday or Poyet?
    Nile Ranger was in the away end yesterday and the club need to say what the position is with him? I have no objection to giving him a chance and he is a quality player but much as I like Cellino, he needs a Communications Manager to stop all the misinformation coming out of his mouth and the club generally.
    All in all a miserable day for Leeds fans and we can only hope and pray for positive action this week.

    • Tyler75

      Absolutely correct about Bianchi – missed him badly. But Beradi and Byram have been one of the bright spots in pre-season, so what does the Hock do, leave Beradi on the bench and pick Hunt ! Also why leave Smith on the bench and surely Charlie Taylor would give us more at left=back than Warnock does. The Hock is so far out of his depth he’s just doing an impersonation of a football coach.
      Also on the Nile Ranger subject, he’s a complete, unrepentant scumbag – if we decide to take him on (as opposed to proven goalscorer like Billy Sharp on a free) then after 40 plus years, I’m going to find something else to do on a Saturday.

      • Tim

        Hockaday clearly tried to play safe instead of being brave. None of us would have complained if he had started with Smith, Taylor, Cook, Beradi and Benedicic and lost but with positive signs for the future, but Wooten is frightening and for me Hunt, Austin, Warnock and Murphy are just dross.
        Going on to Nile Ranger, I take your point Tyler but at 22 he deserves a chance and is a quality player. He has being sorting himself out and keeping fit so you never know. A short term contract would not be amiss as Sharpe will be expensive and has never settled anywhere and is out of Cellino’s age range. He will not spend big on wages and transfers this season until the finances are stabilised.
        We will have difficulty replacing Hockaday as no coach or manager with quality will take this job on under the present remit.

  • mrbigwheels

    Let’s just snuggle under and enjoy the darkness… it’s all too frightening to look at.

  • henrymouni

    I am surprised any of us is surprised.
    Same slow gutless midfield, bringing continual pressure on our leaky defence.
    Same lack of service to the attacking players.
    I could see Tonge playing, as at least he can pass.
    But Austin and Murphy??
    No coach could make them any better.
    Warnock is too unreliable and Wootton is ……………
    Pearce gives his all, but needs someone better to play alongside.
    Which brings me to that Italian dick Cellino.
    Sorreson was training with the team, but we still managed to lose him!!
    It beggars belief.
    I would not be surprised if Byram is out the door soon.
    If he sacks The Hock, what top coach would come to Leeds to work for Cellino?
    A bad one, desperate for a job.
    If the bookies and pundits think we are crap, you have to take notice!!

    • Chareose

      Agree mate, I don’t understand how we can quibble over 100k extra for Sorenson or even 2.5 million for Andy Delort when we sold RM for 11…….. we are not in a position to quibble over these players or massage Cellinos ego and the critical areas of our team that were weak last season remain unfilled……..its a shambles

    • mrbigwheels

      Di Canio is not an illogical thought at this level. The man needs to be in the right system. Sunderland was too much of a prima donna footballer step for him.

      Another question is.. Will Cellino ever reach the position of not being the manager and actually employ someone like Di Canio who at least the players with any spirit and talent would play for the manager/coach, unlike yesterday where quite a few didn’t!.

      Yes… there were many who ‘played’ for DC at Swindon.. we’re a league one team so no difference there… but the team was managed well.

      No…. we will struggle for a long time in this league with Cellino as manager with just a non league fitness coach…

      • TexasBob

        they would kill each other

  • David Lockwood

    This is just one game but that is the bare truth. What we actually saw was the future. Uninspiring, clueless, wrong selection lacking in class, skill and character. Now, who is responsible for it all. Patience? Cant stand bad decision making at any level!

    • henrymouni

      Cellino is responsible for it all David.
      When you take total control of everything, you are totally responsible.
      He appointed The Hock, but has given him little or no support.
      He has ridiculed him in public, and has failed to bring in enough quality players.
      He has sold our top goalscorer and not replaced him.
      He has got rid of 16 players, and cut staff and done all the easy option cost savings.
      He has seen enough of our old squad to know that we will struggle, and he will no doubt make The Hock his scapegoat.
      I like the players he has brought in, but they are not central defenders or goalscorers, and will soon get dispirited playing with ‘the old guard’.

      • Ev

        Good assessment henry

        • Sad Leeds

          Well summed up Henrymouni

  • David Lockwood

    Oh, and FFS!

  • mrbigwheels

    Mark Robbins sacked after just one game…. there is hope!

  • Tim

    UPDATE TO MY POST. Robins sacked by Dean Hoyle at Hudders! Take note Cellino, decisive action can be taken.

  • mrbigwheels

    It’s all Tom Lees fault… Oh…..come back Tom.

    • henrymouni

      You are not taking this seriously enough Mr B!!
      He is better than Wootten though, but he was on high wages!!! AAAaaagh

      Billy Sharp has been mentioned, but Cellino will not want to pay his wages either!!
      The only good that has come out of yesterday’s debacle is that Cellino can see that his gamble has not worked, and the transfer window is still open.
      The only way is up – I hope!!

      • mrbigwheels

        If I get too serious Henri, poor thoughts enter and I may get cross.

        You can see the problem without even watching yesterdays match.

        Cellino has not grasped the Championship and its employment structure to get on with a turn around in player ability/performance terms at his new club.
        He may well hold the mantle of ‘we are going to do it my way or we are not doing it at all’ but he has to realise this is not little Italy, Serie A football with a very disposable, come go workforce being paid at different levels comparable to any talented player showing potential in the English Championship.
        Sorenson looks a classic example to me… Cellino wants him but his ‘have a deal on my terms or nothing’ nature with ego… has blown the lad back to Italy, just like the Vivianni bloke.
        Profit in a business has always come from buying and selling prices less the costs of production… Cellino has been very successful at this in his agri business and to some extent with Calgari.
        We will be a production club in the long term generating a good profit. Roscoe is the unbelievable windfall for Cellino and Byram will be next, etc. This may provide some good football on the matchday but will not propel us eventually to any position of previous acolades.
        I understand there is a high level of younger player ‘upset’ and I can see Mowatt leaving too.
        Hockaday is just working in a clueless bubble that has further enveloped all at Leeds from Cellino down and that includes us the fans
        This week will be the most decisive for Cellino. He has ten days to sort a bucketful of team/tranfer and coaching problems out.
        He has actually set his own deadline, if we listened, three matches. He knows he’s a tight arse, he’s made a mistake with Hock and he knows the players he’s inherited are pretty shit and he’ll have to open the wallet a bit further.

        I do expect him to sort this but wish he’d ‘shut it up’ a bit.

        Cheers Henri.

  • john palmer

    I Can’t believe 2/3 managers have picked Austin ,Wooton,Hunt Warnock,for Christ sake get someone in who knows a player ,these dummies shouldn’t be anyway near pro football.Our answer is to get a non leaguecoach to go with them

    • alwaysleeds

      Hunt makes Billy Paynter seem prolific, but at least big Billy was a tryer. I’m still not sure about Murphy, what exactly is his game ? When he signed, I hoped he would turn into the visionary midfielder we needed, but, unless he’s charging forward he doesn’t seem to give us many options. He’s missing fro the game too much for my liking.

  • Sad Leeds

    Lets hope MC really does listen to the fans, terrible we are talking of relagation already. It`s a manager with some credentials we need not a coach, we are playing in a british league not on the continential stage where coaches are used. Dave Hockaday is never going to win, why would he not jump at the chance to manage Leeds United which is what any one would do from a similar situation as his. He has accepted a poison chalice and his fingers are unfortunately for him going to get burned big time soon. This is because he was never going to be accepted seriously not just by us the fans, but it seems the players and football cant get their head around his appointment.

    Its great the business side is being sorted but dont` forget Mr Cellino without decent team there is no revenue and then the business collapses.

  • henrymouni

    Hock was a shock ‘Sad’ but these players were crap before he arrived.
    The were crap under Warnock & BM, and they are crap now!
    They would be crap under any manager or coach we bring in.
    With Cellino, we will never attract a top coach to work for him.

  • Ev

    The problem is Cellino stated we have 15 million as player budget, hes promised this that or another…….. and so far singularly failed to keep them. So its alright saying its another transitional season but then you have to go back to how much we as fans are paying to watch this ?? In some cases more than premiership clubs
    Sorry but Mr Cellino needs to prove hes not another Ken Bates trying to do everything on the cheap whilst pocketing a nice wad or two….. This is not Cagliari and leeds fans have been to the Ken Bates school of how to mug and con a fan base. We know every trick in the book ! Undisclosed fees, promises that always appear on the horizon….. Sort it out Mass or it will be 20,000 fans chasing your taxi around the car park