It’s been a while since my last match report and in that time Leeds’ results have been all over the map, but the problems creating our lacking of consistency and upward mobility are seemingly set in stone.

Birmingham today was the ultimate example. An absolute schooling for Leeds in everything we’re doing wrong and what it takes to be consistent in this division.

Leeds no doubt started the day with a game-plan that soon went out of the window. I’m fairly certain of this because Uwe Rösler perfectly predicted the opposition’s game-plan in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, and since I don’t think he’s an absolute idiot, he certainly didn’t instruct his team to play into the opposition’s hands and do exactly what they were hoping we would – specifically, continue to commit more and more men forward while they comfortably sat firm at the back, awaiting their chance to pounce.

Every team faces this problem, particularly at home. The reason Leeds are generally recording better results on the road is because all fans expect the home team to come out and boss the game on their own turf, attacking from the off and committing players forward, which can be great. When it works. But this invariably leaves the opposition chances to catch you on the break, which is something Leeds ourselves are reasonably good at.

What we’re not good at however, is dealing with teams doing the same thing to us and what we’re even worse at, is breaking those teams down.

The problem, in short, is naivety. It’s something that goes hand in hand with having a young side lacking in experience and – given that Uwe predicted Birmingham would play this way – perhaps a bit of discipline too.

There’s numerous examples of this I can cite from today alone, but the first goal is as good as any. The move begins when Leeds are turned over in possession. At this point, Leeds are camped in Birmingham’s half with at least 8 men their side of the halfway line. Charlie Taylor (playing left-back) is in a very advanced position, practically at their corner flag, while Berardi (at right-back) is also forward. Here, our central midfield have to recognise the potential danger and be ready to cover, but – and this isn’t the first or last time you’ll see it this season – none of them have taken defensive responsibility, they’re all caught flat-footed and poised to move in only one direction and when Birmingham break at the rapid pace Uwe had warned they’re capable of, we’re massively over-committed and no one is in a position to help out the two remaining defenders.

While there’s some debate about Cooper being fouled in the moments that followed (‘six of one, half a dozen of the other’ for me, no foul), he too shoulders some of the blame for messing around protesting instead of getting back up – he hits the floor and stops there to appeal a free-kick, which is just stupid in a situation where the opposition are still threatening. Whether he was fouled or not, it wasn’t bad enough to keep him on the floor.

But that might not have been relevant if our central midfield of Mowatt, Murphy and Cook shared a modicum of defensive instinct between them.

The second, and arguably more frustrating, problem is our failure to create. Dallas had a good game and tried to create some openings, but you have to be VERY special as a unit to break through a team sitting as deep as Birmingham did. They’re just far too disciplined and well-organised, meaning Leeds kept finding dead ends despite a majority share of possession and being camped in Birmingham’s half for much of the game. In many ways, it was a counter-attacking masterclass from Birmingham, but it’s one Leeds should have been prepared for.

Committing more and more men forward against an opposition side who can sit and frustrate all afternoon isn’t going to work unless you have something very special, which Leeds didn’t. We do have good players and Botaka may be the key to untying stubborn defensive lines, but when he’s not on the pitch and you’re constantly hitting a brick wall – and worse, being hit back with a vengeance by that brick wall – you have to try and draw the opposition out to stretch the game a bit and create some space.

Instead, Leeds just kept playing into Birmingham’s hands. The opposition sat back comfortably, pouncing on loose balls and shutting down anyone who got too close with numbers, inviting Leeds to commit more and more men forward, before unleashing like a coiled spring, mostly through their explosive number 7 who proved too much for Leeds’ naïve side to get a handle on.

The second goal came late and while Jordan Botaka (a second half sub) was making things interesting, it felt (and proved) meaningless to the result. Leeds could still be playing now (whatever time you’re reading this) and I doubt we’d have scored because we lack the experience and discipline to play patiently and use the lion’s share of possession we enjoyed to draw stubbornly defensive teams out. Until we figure that out, our 8-month win-less run at home is under no threat of ending.

On and on…