Atalanta B C, Pre-Season 2016/17
Leeds United 2 Atalanta BC 1
Well, that’s pre-season done and dusted. Four wins out of five in the record books and a win over a mid-table Serie A side in the final game is none too shabby. What can we read into all that? I’m not sure.
I was disappointed in the display today – as Garry Monk very honestly told us after the game “We weren’t at our best with the ball” and that I think sums it up. Few of our players stood out today in the way that several did at times in Dublin and most did in that first half down in the heat at Posh last Saturday. If anything we looked a tad sloppy with the ball, giving it away cheaply in midfield too often including for the Atalanta equaliser. The defence generally coped OK with a very mobile Atalanta forward line although we were done looking for offside when D’Alessandro went through and he punished us pretty much the way many Championship sides will if we do the same when the real stuff begins next week. I’m not convinced this defence is yet strong enough but we have Berardi to come back and hopefully another CB before the window closes if not in time for QPR. A positive in the defence was the very clear directions being yelled by Rob Green throughout the game; we’ve missed that organising for two years. Green also made two excellent stops confirming that he is another very good shot stopper even at 36 years old.
Chris Wood despatched the penalty with ease which again may further help his confidence but I’m still not convinced he is giving us enough in general play or we are not bringing him into the game enough. Whichever it is, we need more from him.
We saw glimpses of the skills young Vieira has to offer but I guess from Monk’s comments today that he may consider him still too raw to start at Loftus Road. I still expect him to first on the team sheet at Fleetwood instead. Kemar Roofe to showed glimpses but we have seen enough in pre-season to know he is going to be a very useful player if we can regularly bring him into the play.
So, off we go to Loftus Road. I’m told they have had a mixed pre-season but today they will have made a few Championship managers sit up and take notice as they beat a strong Watford side 2 – 0. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is playing a “high pressing game” this season and today Alex Smithies was unbeatable in goal. Do we have enough in the current squad to come away from Loftus Road with any points next Saturday? I really hope so but my gut feel is we don’t. If I’m sat here writing about our first point next Sunday night I’ll be very happy. Buckle up, this could be some ride!