|Fulham v Leeds United|
Tuesday, 4th April 2017 Kick-off 19:45
Monk promises Leeds won’t let it slip
Wednesday, 5th Apr 2017 21:42 by Tim Whelan
With defeats at Reading and Brentford in the space of four days Leeds are showing signs of running out of form just at the wrong time, but Garry Monk is at least talking a good game.
Our head told the official site “It is not often we have had to face back to back defeats so we are disappointed with that. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we need to dust ourselves down and in terms of our situation, it hasn’t changed from eight games, we just have six games to do it in now. We have to give credit to Brentford, especially in the first half, I have watched Brentford a lot this season and that is one of the best games I have seen them play.”
“They managed to get two goals which made it difficult for us, in the second half we responded and had a couple of chances, we just needed one to go in. One thing I know about the character of this group is that they will be ready to respond in these final six games. The players deserve credit for the effort that they have put in over the season and they are not prepared to let all of that hard work slip. I have full trust in these players, I can see it in their eyes, they are fully determined to bounce back.”
Stirring words indeed, but we have to hope that he really means it, after a many of the fans who travelled to Brentford were very critical of his selections and the performance of his team. Monk reacted to the Reading defeat by making five changes to his line-up, but by and large the players who came in failed to make the impact he was hoping for.
One change was enforced, as Liam Cooper began his six game ban after deciding not to make an appeal. A club statement said “After careful consideration Liam pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him as he acknowledges that the coming together with Reece Oxford was reckless.” In other words, it wasn’t deliberate but there was bugger all chance of getting the FA to change their minds.
Charlie Taylor was dropped to the bench, possibly due to being partly culpable for Reading’s goal, while Ayling and Jansson returned to the side. So we fielded many people’s first choice defence, but on the night they looked far less solid than they have for most of the season. Dallas and Barrow were also back in the starting line-up, but the latter was particularly disappointing.
Rob Green was one of the few to come out of this game with any credit, and he at least has come into some form in recent weeks, after one or two blunders earlier in the season. He kept us in the game with several decent saves in the first half, but was powerless to prevent Brentford’s opener, with Sawyer scoring from the rebound after Green had made a fine save from Canos.
And the second arrived in the 34th minute in similar fashion, with Green again saving from Canos, and this time it fell for Vibe to take advantage. Leeds improved after the break and a spell of pressure produced chances for Pedraza, Barrow and Jansson, but Leeds failed to pull one back, and in the end the home side were worthy winners.
We could at least be thankful that Fulham lost to Derby, which means that we are still five points clear of seventh place. To be certain of a play-off place we need 13 points from our last six games, taking account of the fact that Fulham and Wednesday play each other on the last day of the season.
So it’s still very much in our own hands, but over the international break we seem to have lost the momentum we had built up with the stirring win over Brighton. We urgently need to get back to that sort of form, and preferably during Saturday’s game against Preston, who have been on a decent run lately and haven’t given up on their own hopes of making the play-offs.
Is Garry Monk right about his squad having the character to bounce back, or is there something going on with Jansson that has unsettled things behind the scenes? We don’t want to let it all slip now.
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