Bouncing back is always key in this league. In terms of toughness there aren’t many leagues as strong as the Championship and new boss Thomas Christiansen has found that out this week. Millwall looked like a one-off but the last 6 days have shown up some failings we need to address.
Thomas Christiansen described the team’s performance at Hillsborough as “soft” and to me that doesn’t do it justice, anywhere near justice in fact. At times I could use the term gutless for what I saw and I don’t think that can be argued with. I’m not saying any Leeds United player on that pitch is gutless but that performance was gutless. Players gave up, didn’t want the ball and most frustratingly they hid. Hiding in games like that is easy and for me only one stood up and made sure they were counted and that was Samu Saiz. The subs did get on the ball but the game was done long before they arrived on the pitch. We can’t come off the back of such a poor performance at Cardiff and play like that again, even worse actually which on Tuesday evening you didn’t think would be possible.
We have players who will come in and fight for every ball and come off the pitch having given it everything they have even if they play poor and that’s exactly what didn’t happen yesterday. One was certain to come on at the break in my eyes and was left benched until the final whistle, Ronaldo Vieira. Christiansen has got most things spot on this season but in some games you need power and aggression mixed with passing and quality. And my point is clear today as Chris Taylor (LUFC Data) tweeted that Gjanni Alioski and Kemar Roofe who are both flair players made 15 successful passes between them, an unacceptable number.
Another area of the side that didn’t turn up, or did and was bullied was the defence. Pontus Jansson and Matthew Pennington were given the run-around by Gary Hooper and were getting shoved around by Steven Fletcher who was also toying with Luke Ayling, a player who almost always turns up and simply didn’t yesterday. The lack of fight and spirit took over the side in reality and it never felt like we were getting back into the match after the first goal let alone the second and the players were the ones giving that feeling off in abundance. We need to be able to fight and stay in games so we can then let the quality shine rather than go into the break losing and have no plan to get back into the contest.