What is so important is that we don’t pretend this was the youth players like last season. A 2-1 defeat to Newport County is hard to stomach, even harder when you take the performance, desire, fight and passion into account. The players that played today are players who are on the fringes of the first-team, players who will be needed in the second half of the season. We need to learn from last season’s mistakes, starting from today.
I can’t handle doing the ratings yet, maybe leave it a day or two. The situation today is similar to last season but worse in that there was many players playing who are very much in the plans for the remainder of the season. Newport bossed us from early on and we went out with a whimper, the only player to come out of that with any sort of credit probably Gaetano Berardi, who looked up for the game. Thomas Christiansen has said he is happy with the strikers in the squad, and the squad itself in recent weeks. I don’t know whether that is just for the cameras or not but you have to hope it is, because if we are honest, we don’t have the depth to repeat the first half of the season, the last week should be the evidence we need. A loss at Birmingham, draw at home to a poor Forest side and loss at Newport. The fact we didn’t rotate the team over the hectic festive season cost us, but if we had, based on today, could we have expected any better?
We crumbled last season and this season we have less of a buffer, and a very hard month coming up in February. What worries me the most at the moment is goals. We could still be playing against Forest now and we wouldn’t score. Roofe is scoring in patches, but we don’t create chances for him in the other spells, Lasogga looks like half the player and less than what we signed and Jay-Roy Grot simply isn’t good enough. The pair played up front in a two today and were bullied and outplayed by the two Newport centre-backs. Thomas Christiansen must be worried, because the goals of Kemar Roofe will help, but certainly won’t fire us to promotion. Caleb Ekuban has been out for two lengthy spells and we don’t know when he will return, it’s fair to say he won’t be fully fit until the back-end of the season now.
The club released a statement when Chris Wood left, saying fans can be assured that all money recouped for Chris Wood would be invested into the squad. Since then we have signed Jay-Roy Grot and Pawel Cibicki for a fee combined of less than £3 million, Lasogga on loan and more recently Yosuke Ideguchi and Aapo Halme for a combined £1 million, so around £4 million on fees. There has to be money to spend this window, and there are certainly players who will want to come to Leeds. The arrival of Laurens De Bock seems imminent and that sorts out the left-back area (if he can settle and adapt) but we need players in the final third. Samu Saiz was sent off today for an alleged spit, which means a hefty ban is coming his way, so our best player now won’t be available for some time. If we don’t learn from last season, we will finish up the same as last season, disappointed and looking back and January wondering what if?