Now Radrizzani blames the players
Tuesday, 13th Mar 2018 21:37 by Tim Whelan
As our season began to disintegrate our beloved owner first sacked Thomas Christiansen and then had a go at Wolves’ use of a ‘super-agent’, and now Andrea Radrizzani has put the blame on some of the Leeds United players.
When Christiansen was sacked after the Cardiff defeat the departing head coach claimed it was all have been different if Samu Saiz hadn’t been banned for six games for spitting, but Radrizzani reckons our problems began a little bit earlier. Namely, with the lack of squad rotation as we played four games in ten days over the busy Christmas and New Year period.
He told talkSPORT ”To be fair in the first year with mainly new players, 15 new players and a new coach, a new owner, to be in the top six most of the season until the mid-half of the season was a good result. I was pleased with that. Unfortunately in January we ruined everything.”
"I have my own personal opinion that I'm happy to share. I think the crucial time, the crucial moment was the week from 23rd December to 1st of January because in that week we had four games and we play all the games with the same 11 or 12 players and this basically killed the players on the pitch and also killed the other ones because they were not considered.”
"And then in the next game, in the cup, Newport we went to play with full 11 players, asking the same players that were totally ignored for the four games in the league to play in the cup against second division side. Obviously the commitment was not there because they were not considered before.”
The Italian has previously called the Newport debacle a “match of shame”, and in hindsight it’s a shame that we didn’t take the FA Cup more seriously, given that our play-off campaign was to fade anyway. At least we could have had a high-profile fourth round tie against Spurs, even though it would have been hard to make progress beyond that. And Radrizzani thinks the players have yet to recover from the Newport game.
“In that two weeks I think we killed the season. And that's what brought me then to change the leader and we need time, we need to learn from our mistake. Firstly myself, I'm the first person responsible for this situation and my management and the players which also they have a big part in these results because I mean, we have given them everything possible to just focus on the football."
“As a club we support them with everything. We did everything they wanted but we didn’t get back the commitment, the passion and the spirit. I don’t want players in my team with this behaviour. I hope they can learn. We gave them long-term contracts, we supported them in pre-season going on a camp in Spain, we did everything they wanted.”
“But we didn’t get back their commitment, their passion and spirit, particularly in the game, a really important game when we played really poorly against Middlesbrough. For me it was the bottom of the season because there was no commitment, no passion, no spirit. I don’t want players in my team representing Leeds United with this behaviour,” Radrizzani added. “So I hope they can learn and be with me next year, playing better and with more commitment.”
Results have yet to improve under Paul Heckinbottom, but Pontus Jansson has told the Yorkshire Post that the players have discussed what they need to do to be part of his plans for next season. “Now it’s up to everyone to show grit and prove they want to stay and play for Leeds. They have to show it now on the pitch.”
“We said that the play-offs is not something that we have to think about now. We have to take it game by game and, of course, think as a team, but also individually. We said that if you want to be here next season then you have to prove it on the pitch and I think we took a step forward towards doing that (at Reading). We showed more character than in recent games.”
Hopefully Jansson is right, and that the players’ attitude so heavily criticised by Rads is indeed starting to improve. But it’s clear that the squad will need yet another overhaul in the summer, and it’s notable that the one man our owner has yet to criticise is Victor Orta.
Radrizzani has said this week that if Wolves can get away with spending millions without breaking the FFP regulations then he will do the same. But many Leeds fans think there is one more change he needs to make before next season, and that someone other than Orta needs to be in charge of recruiting the players we need to take us up.
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