Leeds United 1 Birmingham City 2
It may have taken longer than it should have, but, listening to Garry Monk’s post-match press conference I believe he now understands what is wrong with the squad he currently has available. He continually used the word “soft” and I think many of us fans knew this issue existed right through last season. Indeed, Monk alluded to “being told about the softness at Elland Road” when he first arrived and suggested it has been like it for years which again I think many of us recognise. It is a particularly apt expression for our powder puff defence; it’s been leaking soft goals for years and somehow even when the names change the malaise remains the same! We saw it last season, we saw it in pre-season, we saw it at QPR and Fleetwood and now we saw it again today with both Birmingham goals. The first when Bamba and Bartley were dissected so easily and the second when several Leeds defenders were just too slow to react whereas Morrison was on the loose ball like a panther. The key is that Monk has now recognised it and determined he will try to do something about it. It is not just the defence that is “soft” though, the whole side needs to toughen up and again, as Monk put it: “ we need players that will die every single game, kill for every single game for themselves and for each other” The phrasing may be a bit clumsy but I think we all know what he means!
I never thought we would get more than a point from the Birmingham game today – and I even don’t think we will beat Fulham – but I did think we had enough to get a draw because I felt we would create enough chances to counter the goals I felt sure we’d concede. Had Antonsson or Roofe put away their more than decent chances we’d have come away with a draw and we’d have mostly shrugged and moved on. However, Monk may then not have realised how serious this “softness” in the side is so Blues may have inadvertently done us a favour.
Whatever Monk can do in terms of coaching the resources he has, I am sure like the rest of us he appreciates that further strengthening of the defence and midfield is also essential and until that happens I find it hard to believe we can beat many sides. Fulham on Tuesday will therefore be another almost impossible task without the arrival of further cavalry. Once again though, if we can play at our best and put away our chances, we ought to have enough to share the spoils with them. Roll on Tuesday, it is a fascinating situation to watch develop.
Leeds U Birmingham C
Possession 60% 40%
Shots 11 11
On Target 3 3
Corners 7 4
Fouls 15 14