Derby County 2 Leeds United 2
If Paul Heckingbottom was unsure about the scale of the task facing him to get Leeds into promotion chasing shape then I am sure this evenings game will have firmed up a few aspects. There are major deficiencies in this Leeds squad that keep showing themselves and yet for too long now have been ignored. We are not all bad, let’s make that clear but we still need some major surgery to remove the worst elements while trying to hang onto the best.
Once again this evening we began a game with Kemar Roofe, the man who pointedly stuck his fingers in his ears when he scored against Bristol City on Sunday as if to say, “I’m not listening to your criticism Leeds fans, you don’t know what you are talking about”. Well, that’s what I took it to mean. But I’m sorry Kemar, we do know what we are talking about, we are talking about the fact that playing with you in the side at the moment is like playing with ten men. You just are not giving us enough. We saw it again tonight and the Leeds fans would have had you off and Sammy Saiz on a lot earlier than Hecky did. I cannot believe the new coach will continue to play you if you cannot give us more than this. I can only assume that the reason you started at all was that Hecky was giving you another chance to impress. Well now he knows what we have known for months.
And then there is the defence. At times tonight the defence was a shambles. I exclude Pontus Jansson from that but none of the other back four. I’m assuming Anita has a knock because I can see no reason why he didn’t continue at right back. We all dearly love the heart Berardi gives us but we have to acknowledge what he himself told us not long ago: he’s actually not good enough! On the other side of the pitch De Bock is starting to be shown up as well and he had one of his worst games so far in a Leeds shirt. I also thought that Liam Cooper was culpable in most that went wrong at the back tonight; there have been question marks over Coops for too long and I am sure everyone at the club will this summer ensure that a new centre back is found; a season too late in my mind but let’s make sure it happens this time.
On a positive note, we’d all have been happy with a point from Derby before a ball was kicked so I guess we should be grateful but the way we tossed away 2 points tonight was as annoying as anything we’ve seen this season. But as long as we have this frail defence we will have to accept this will happen. Hopefully Hecky will gradually get us to manage a game better so that maybe we can cover the deficiencies until reinforcements arrive.
The good points tonight were the return of Sammy Saiz who looked every bit as good as we remembered and swapping Roofe for him was like bringing on two men. Alioski looked bright for his little rest too while Pablo will be missed if his injury proves to be serious. Hecky got his substitutions spot on tonight with Saiz for Roofe, Phillips for Vieira who was treading on eggshells following his first half yellow card and the enforced change of Gianni for Pablo. Leeds looked different gravy following the changes. Lasogga continues to impress with his goal scoring and like a certain Chris Wood before him, maybe all he needed was time to settle in and of course some decent service. Pontus Jansson remains a rock at the back (most of the time) and had a deserved man of the match award tonight. Adam Forshaw was not as prominent as usual but he has anchored us in midfield and looks the part.
I haven’t mentioned Felix either, and I don’t propose to… he just has to go I’m afraid. Paul Robinson pulled no punches (unlike Felix himself!) at the weekend and I can’t add to what Paul said. He has to go, full stop.
Everything at Leeds must now be about sorting out the wheat from the chaff and getting us fit and proper for next season. Hecky will be learning quickly I am sure and I’d expect us to detect his understanding by the changes he makes in the side between now and the end of the season. We know what’s wrong, we’ve seen it all season, now he must sort it out.
Derby County Leeds Utd
Possession 57% 43%
Shots 25 8
On Target 4 3
Corners 10 2
Fouls 8 9