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Farke bemoans poor finishing as Leeds eclipsed by Coventry
Sunday, 7th Apr 2024 21:42 by Tim Whelan

Leeds had more of the possession during yesterday's game at Coventry City, but failed to make it count, and so went down to the first league defeat of 2024 in a crucial fixture.

After the match Daniel Farke told BBC Radio Leeds "We played a really good opponent, it's always difficult on the road. We dominated in terms of possession which is good, we had more expected goals than them, more shots on target. We lost the game, this is decisive. Today was one of those days."

He also picked out Piroe’s miss right at the end as an opportunity we should have taken, and admitted that we needed to make better use of our set pieces, which has been an issue all season. But he said that he doesn’t mind the dressing room feeling disappointed after this result, as he will use that as an incentive to put things right in the two home games that we have next week.

And his opposite number Mark Robins admitted that his side had to dig deep late in the game.
"We've taken part in the game today, it hasn't been a case of us sitting behind the ball. We started to tire and that's when we started to give away ground and it encouraged them to come at us. We see the game out, with bodies on the line and we were calmish in those areas and when we were calm, we came away with the ball and gave ourselves more time in possession."

The day started with the East Anglian local derby, which was mostly a very enjoyable watch, though it got a bit tense towards the end when Ipswich brough Al-Hamedi on to run at Norwich’s lumbering defenders. The result gave us the opportunity to regain the top spot, but we faced a similarly difficult fixture, away from home against a side who needed the points themselves as they sought a place in the play-offs.

Gruev was back from injury and was restored to the starting line-up, but Gnonto and Roberts had to be content with places on the bench. As Leeds made a bright start Rutter set Firpo free on the left side of the area, but with Coventry very quick to get their defenders in place Bamford couldn’t work enough space for a shot, and his final effort was easily blocked.

Yet after 9 minutes Coventry went in front, and Farke was later to complain that they did so with their first attack of the game. Wright’s shot was deflected and Meslier made a good save, but at the expense of a corner. And when it came over our defence looked all at sea, with nobody tracking Sims as the ball was headed forward. He had the simple task of converting from close range as our appeals for offside fell on deaf ears.

Coventry were lifted by their breakthrough and Meslier had to use his legs to save from O’Hare, while Sims and Plamer also went close. We needed to step it up in the second half, and Roberts came on to give us an extra threat down the right, while Gray went into midfield and Kamara came off. But it went pear-shaped as Coventry were able to catch us with a quick counter-attack in the 49th minute.

As the Sky Blues took possession after a Leeds corner and broke downfield, Wright leapt acrobatically to get his foot onto Eccles’ deep cross and guide the ball past Meslier and inside the far post. We did our best to respond, but on 66 minutes Farke decided it was time to get a few more attackers on the field if we were to get back into the game.

Piroe replaced the tiring Gruev, and Bamford was taken off to see if Joseph could provide the spark we needed. Once again Bamford’s contribution has drawn plenty of flack from his many critics on social media. But it was Summerville who created the next two chances. First his cross deflected off a defender and Collins had to get down quickly to stop the own goal.

Then he cut inside and curled the ball towards the far corner, only to have it headed off the line by Bidwell. And we finally pulled one back on 76 minutes as Rutter’s trickery took him into the area and he refused to be shaken off the ball, getting a shot in rather than going to ground. And when it was blocked but came back to Piroe, the Dutchman picked his spot and side-footed the ball into the net.

With time running out Leeds stepped up the pressure and Gnonto came on for James as we sought the equaliser. And a big chance did come as we moved into injury time, when a free kick was played on by Joseph, but Piroe didn’t get the power he needed into the shot, and Collins was able to save with his legs. Then Meslier came up for the final corner but didn’t get to the ball, and time was up as soon as it was cleared downfield.

So it turned out that Leicester were the big winners on the day, as their win took them back to the top, while Southampton could only get a draw away to the improving Blackburn. We now need Ipswich or Leicester to slip up at some point, but we can at least take heart from the fact that Ipswich still have to go to Coventry, who are a very capable side in their own stadium.

For our own part, it has to be admitted that we’ve been below par since the international break interrupted our rhythm, but as our manager says, we now have the opportunity to get back on track in the two home games to come. Here’s hoping that we can.


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