It’s hard to digest days like today but putting it into words does slightly help. I listened to Garry Monk after the game and that also helped me stomach the 90 minutes…ever so slightly. It was the worst possible start but it’s one of 46 games, make you feel any better? Nope, me neither.
It all went wrong early on. Even before the goal it was clear we hadn’t really turned up. Second to every ball and 5 yards off the players in every area, and the goal came after 4 minutes! Somehow Caulker was left on his own in the box and volleyed, Vieira did his best to clear and Green flapped at the ball. Berardi was standing behind the line, Bamba kneed it in…just an absolute shambles. Did that give us a kick up the arse? Not in the slightest. We lumbered through the first half, QPR hitting the post twice and Stuart Dallas snatching at a very good chance.
The second half was better but still not great. Ronaldo Vieira came out of the game with some credit. The 18 year old carried Toumani Diagouraga and Matt Grimes and was left exposed as he seemed to be the only one willing to chase and hassle the QPR midfield who had the freedom of Loftus Road. Vieira then gave away a penalty, and it was a penalty. He got caught wrong side and Cousins went down. Marcus Antonsson and Hadi Sacko came on and gave us another dimension. Sacko tore down the right three or four times, Antonsson making good runs. The Swede missed a guilt-edged chance, beating the keeper but missing the target. Sacko had a glorious finish cancelled out for hand ball and right in the last minutes Bamba stopped completely as a ball went over his head and Lewie Coyle (who was Leeds’ best player on the day) was bullied off the ball, 3-0.
There’s no point in going through the whole team because it wouldn’t look pretty. Players that were particularly worrying were Charlie Taylor, who got into good positions but didn’t really look bothered much during the game. Normally solid and consistent he looked at 50% which was very worrying. Toumani Diagouraga was terrible, Berardi struggled before coming off, Green looked shaky. Further up the pitch Grimes was ineffective, Dallas looked unfit and well off the pace. Roofe showed one or two nice touches but wasn’t effective and Wood was just left on his own, flicking on balls to nobody. The long ball returned early on as players began to panic. Bamba and Bartley dealt with most crosses but decided diagonals were the way to do it, something that rarely happened in pre-season.
I think Mowatt or Hernandez would have made a difference today. Bamba needs to be the leader but wasn’t, starting to play long balls after 5 minutes is an awful way to set an example. Hadi Sacko and Marcus Antonsson worked hard and made a difference when they came on. Lewie Coyle let himself down after a good showing and Ronaldo Vieira looked promising even though he was abandoned by the others in midfield. On a better note we won’t see many worse performances than that this season. I fully trust Garry Monk and his team to sort out the problems. It’s a very young team and Monk will help them understand the system better. We now have two home games after the League Cup trip to Fleetwood on Tuesday night. Brutal start.
Man Of The Match – Close to putting “N/A” but I felt Ronaldo Vieira deserved a mention. Left to play in the middle on his own he tried very hard and looked to get on the ball. Good passing at times and put tackles in. Bridcutt would be a perfect mentor. Got caught wrong side for penalty but still the best player in a Leeds shirt. Tough learning curve.