Well, if the goals aren’t going in at one end, they’re going in at the other. We keep saying how Leeds are the best team in the Premier League to watch because you’re pretty much guaranteed an open game with lots of goals. The problem on Monday night was that they all went in at the wrong end and we suffered our heaviest home Premier League defeat since the days when Arsenal used to come to Elland Road and run us ragged for 90 minutes before buggering off back down the M1 with four goals under their belt.
We went from what I called our best Premier League performance in 20 years at Villa to our heaviest home defeat in the top division for two decades just over a week later.
We had a familiar problem the other night, one which found against Liverpool and Man City at times, in that we came up against pace and couldn’t manage it. When you come up against pace like that you have to drop off a bit more and manage it better. Marcelo likes to play on the front foot and be compact, but you have to understand where you need to be to get into good defensive positions, and against Leicester it looked like they could score at any minute. That’s the way Leeds play, though, and we will get found against certain teams unless we tighten up.
At 2-1, we were back in the game, but Leicester stepped it up whenever they wanted and it was disappointing how easy it was to score goals against. It’s mad to think we did so well at Villa nine days earlier…it was like night and day.
You can point to Kalvin Phillips absence and ask how much the Leicester game had to do with that. It didn’t have an impact at Villa, but Leicester are a different opponent and have that raw pace. Jamie Shackleton had done so well in Kalvin’s role at Villa, and I thought it was questionable to play him further forward and move Klich into that role for the Leicester game. The two centre backs got bullied as well by Vardy and that’s something that other teams will work out quickly after seeing how easy Leicester found it.
You have to grind out results at times. Leeds are trying to play attacking every single week. Patrick Bamford looked tired for me and wasn’t on his own. When you look at the bigger picture I always feel we will concede goals. The centre-backs are going to have adapt to the Premier League and the fact they can’t go to ground so easily. I know we have kept clean sheets but there’s always the threat that we will concede. We are so attacking and great to watch but have to be more defensive minded. To win 3-0 one week then lose 4-1 the week after isn’t great.
The way we play, there’s always gonna be a lot of results like that. We’ll concede three or four and maybe win by three or four the next. Short-term there’s nothing wrong with that – and as we’ve said, it makes it entertaining and exciting to watch – but longer-term you have to have a level of consistency. Leeds are one of the best sides to watch because we are so offensive, but you can’t always keep heaping the praise when we’ve conceded four twice already this season.
Marcelo quite rightly takes a hell of a lot of praise for what he has done, but coaches like Klopp and Guardiola wouldn’t be happy with conceding goals like that – and they both have already this season – and maybe there’s just a little bit of food for thought for the Elland Road coach after a truly topsy-turvy week.