Pathetic Leeds thrashed by Watford TSS April 9, 2014 Match reviews 69 Comments Massimo Cellino took charge of the Leeds United board yesterday before arriving in Watford to witness the team he now owns put on the most pathetic display of football he’s ever likely to see. Watford were the epitome of an end-of-season, mid-table side with nothing left to play for. A remarkably average team which possesses no serious amount of quality, simply going through the motions – which is more than enough to make them far superior to the hopeless Leeds United. If this was an advert for English football, English football would immediately cease to exist. Ofcom would have to pull the advert from the airwaves for causing a nationwide pandemic of clinical depression while The FA would burn Wembley to the ground and flee to a country with favourable extradition laws fearing an angry backlash would see them imprisoned for crimes against humanity. Fans meanwhile would quickly reason that Tuesday nights are better spent cosily sprawled out on their sofa at home watching reruns of ‘Britain’s Fattest Teens Cry About Their Dead Grandfathers For A Record Contract’. A classic this was not. “We’re going to concede how many?” No enthusiasm. No fight. No quality. No nothing. I’d naïvely expected a bit of a performance with this being Massimo Cellino’s first game as the club’s new owner, especially since we’d managed to put up a bit of fight against Wigan at the weekend, but really, I should know better by now. Our defence remains hopeless, our midfield didn’t bother to turn up and Brian McDermott started with Noel Hunt up front, so clearly he didn’t expect us to bother scoring. I’ve said it before and nothing has changed, in more than two decades of attending Leeds United fixtures this is – by some distance – the worst side I have ever seen. It’s not that they’re bad players individually (no worse than some of our previous players at least), they’re just weak characters who combine to create the most pathetic team to have ever worn our club’s colours. Perhaps the most damning thing is, when you consider the amount of embarrassing displays we’ve witnessed this season, a 3-0 defeat to a distinctly average mid-table Championship side doesn’t rank among the worst of them. And that fact alone, is truly f***ing tragic. Can McDermott survive? I like McDermott as much as the next fan, but only the money it’d cost to fire him and the total vacuüm of power above him has kept him in a job for this long. You can blame the players – and you should, their performances have been pathetic – but we were in the play-off spots at Christmas and since that time, McDermott has only added to the squad and somehow managed to make it worse. Of course the chaos McDermott has worked under is a factor in his failure, but it doesn’t mitigate his performance in the slightest, it merely demonstrates how unsuitable he is for the Leeds United manager’s job. The best managers get their teams fighting when all the world is falling down around them and nowhere is that more important than at Leeds United, a club with a propensity for the chaotic. Crisis is our default setting. It feels as if the club is just too big for McDermott. The pressures of managing a relatively small and stable side like Reading don’t compare to what a Leeds United manager has to be able to cope with. I’m always a little concerned when the manager talks about how Leeds United is a bigger club than anything else they’ve experienced, that they’re delighted for the honour of managing us and just “feel lucky to have the chance” because it instils no confidence whatsoever in those he’s managing – and when the people you’re managing are as weak-minded as this Leeds United squad, strong leadership is imperative. Above all else, McDermott’s biggest crime is that he’s failed to impress upon these players any kind of footballing philosophy. I’m no wiser 12 months on as to what system he thinks best suits these players, what kind of football he wants them to play or who his strongest line-up is than I was when he first arrived. And nor is McDermott. McDermott is out of his depth at Elland Road, drowning like so many perfectly good managers (and players) before him. At this point, I think he’ll be relieved when (there is no ‘if’) Cellino cuts him loose. McDermott post-Watford Final thoughts – At 37-years-old, I was surprised Michael Brown finished the match on Saturday, but do I really need to point out how unlikely it was that he’d be able to repeat that performance little more than 72 hours later? – “You don’t deserve the wages…” is a chant which should have kept Leeds United players from sleeping last night, but I honestly don’t think they care any more. – Apologies to Watford fans if the above seemed harsh on your own team, the Championship as a whole is a very average league with few quality teams and you’re no better or worse than the majority of them. – No Massimo, you can’t have a refund.