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24 Nov 2014 03:03pm, by Shields53

Leeds United seem to have a bit of a problem this season, holding onto a first half lead and closing out the game. I think the modern term is ‘poor game management’. So far against Rotherham, Wolves and now Blackburn we have thrown away a winning position at the break and handed all three points to the opposition. Against Charlton we gave away a first half lead, went ahead again only to concede on 81 minutes to share the points. At Bradford we took the lead on 81 minutes only to get knocked out of the cup four minutes later.

In the ten games so far this season we have taken the lead we have only gone on to win 50% of those games. Had we converted those leads into victories we would have got through to the third round of the FA Cup and have 31 points in the league, sitting in a dizzying fifth spot. As it stands we are on 18 points, only two points off the relegation places. But why do we seem to have this tendency to give up our lead and is it really an issue?

There had been cause the blame the manager and the system we played. Under Hockaday there was plenty of sideways football and a certain reluctance to get out of our own half, you are always going to invite pressure from the opposition when you play like that. Then again under Hocaday we didn’t so much give the lead away as never even take the lead. Milanic was the biggest culprit at giving away leads, we had been warned that he played a ‘negative’ style but that was most on show in the Rotherham and Wolves games. After taking a first half lead we seemed to sit back and rest on our laurels in the second half which could only lead to one result.

When Redfearn got the job on a permanent basis I had hoped we would see an end to these second half performances where we back off and let the opposition come back at us. After all when he was at the helm on a temporary basis we converted loosing positions at half time against Birmingham and Bournemouth into a draw and a win. So were Redfearn’s tactics on Saturday wrong or was it just down to the players?

They seemed to panic, both defensively and going forward. When Blackburn attacked the players made rash choices and didn’t clear the lines effectively and we saw the mix up between Cooper and Silvestri which lead to the equaliser. We were still in the game though, still got our chances on the break but again we lacked composure, Doukara didn’t hold the ball up and was hasty with his passing. Antenucci and Adryan both had chances to score but both lacked a little composure when the pressure was on.

I don’t think I can blame Redfearn’s tactics, a freak mix-up and a dive gifted Blackburn their two goals and though they certainly increased the pressure in the second half without those two incidents I feel we could have kept them at bay. Perhaps the players have just been conditioned to panic in these situations by the coaching of Hockaday and Milanic and the two weeks Redfearn has had with them over the international break is not long enough to give them back the confidence they need.

Do we need to worry? Probably not, after all for the vast majority we competed well with a team in the play-off places ad you could say we deserved to win the game. Confidence and composure is what we need and I faith in Redfearn to restore that within the squad. One thing you can say about this bunch of players is that they genuinely seem to care, which is not necessarily true of some Leeds teams over the past few years.

23 Nov 2014 05:06pm, by Shields53

Blackburn Rovers 2 (Rhodes 71, 88 pen)
Leeds United 1 (Doukara 33)

Over 6,800 Leeds fans made the trip over the Pennines to Ewood Park on Saturday to see if Neil Redfearn’s side could pick up from where they left off before the international break. Unfortunately following a second half come back from Blackburn, a defensive mix-up and some theatrics from Luke Varney they went away feeling gutted at three points dropped.

The game started at a fast pace with both sides having chances. Leeds took the lead after some concerted pressure, two corners in a row, the first from an Adryan effort tipped over the bar by Jason Steele and the second coming from a Lewis Cook half-volley. The resulting set piece, on 33 minutes, saw Doukara slot home his seventh goal of the season and was enough to give Leeds a half time lead. The second half saw Blackburn come out strong and Leeds had plenty of pressure to absorb. We looked in danger of sitting back too much just as we have done in previous matches.

The equaliser was unexpected though, a mix-up between Cooper and goalkeeper Silvestri giving Rhodes the chance to level the scores on 71 minutes. All was not lost for Leeds though as Blackburn were reduced to ten men when Tom Cairney was sent off after a second bookable offence. It was Blackburn however who took the points. Sam Byram made a rash challenge, though it is debatable whether there was contact, on Luke Varney who dived in the area, penalty awarded. Rhodes stepped up to dispatch the penalty from the spot three minutes from time to give Blackburn the points. Here are the views of some of our members…

The views of andywatson;

Well, still no sign of hoof ball creeping back in, so that's good news. In fact what I saw was a team playing a fast, high tempo short passing game with players prepared to work hard and take on their opponents. This is all good, but also brings along some problems that need addressing.

I loved the way our midfield/attack were prepared to dribble, to attach their defenders and try turn them. However it was often done without a plan, so the player ended up in an isolated position or gradually got pressed out to a harmless position.

Pace. Is it always a good thing? The speed that these short passes were being pinged around was pretty impressive at times. However it also gave the receiving player a problem to control a pass with that amount of pace. This meant first touches, whilst not bad, but were slightly less controlled than they might have been. At a decent level that's all a defending player needs to intercept or at least harass much more effectively. It also means the receiving player needs a moment longer to do whatever it is he is doing with the ball- and loses the benefit of the speed of the initial pass anyway. As such I think our players need to either take a little bit of pace off their passing to allow better ball control by the next player, or to develop better close ball control skills. I would be perfectly comfortable with the second being an ongoing process, which I am sure is being coached, and I can wait to see it develop and improve over the season. Remember- next season is when it counts.

A disappointing end result, but we knew we would see these, but there are still many many positives in there.

Final thought, Silvestri, is he the keeper we thought he was? Brilliant on his day, that's 2 games we have lost due directly to errors with him like todays. I think today does open up a question mark over his temperament/reliability.

The thoughts of 1964white;

Adyran's wonderful curving shot looked destined for the top corner until the Rovers keeper pulls out a superb save… Adryan’s clever pass to put Antenucci through only to see his shot rebound off the post back into play… Both Adyran & Antenucci unlucky not score at crucial parts of the game.
A replica of the Cardiff mess up & then the diving swan act of cheating from Varney cost us the points.

After seeing replays I still insist Varney dived after seeing the incident again, so a Calamity Jane incident & a cheating act cost us. Blackburn wouldn't have scored if they had played all night had it not been for Silvestri/Cooper & Varney. The ref should have done better with cheating Luke & yellow carded him who would be better suited in a swimming pool. No we didn’t deserve to lose. We were shocking at Blackburn last season & got what we deserve then. We are so much better to watch on the eye compared to that bunch which somehow managed to get results last term. We do need a more physical presence in midfield & upfront as we rarely win the ball in the air in attacking positions. I think we need two players to complete the jigsaw. Noticed the Rovers team were so much bigger than ours. Feel really sorry for our young players as it’s the more experienced ones/keeper making the horrible errors.

Came away from the ground scratching my head in a daze wondering how we lost that game. We have no luck whatsoever! Very disillusioned this morning.

The views of weasel;

I said a few weeks back when talking about Redfearn's haul of 10 points from 12 that luck can play a huge part over a small sample of matches, likewise yesterday turned on a couple of moments. It doesn't mean we are a bad team and should panic just like we were not world beaters a few weeks back. We have shown probably in every match this season that we are a match for teams over 45 minutes, be it sometimes first half and sometimes second half, we have also shown that unless we kill sides off by getting a couple of goals up we are always vulnerable to conceding a goal, whether they are 'good' goals or errors.

The 1st goal yesterday may simply be down to the English/Italian language problem and a miscommunication between the two, it will take time for this team to gel and get an understanding of each other. We mustn't press the panic button just like we mustn't start demanding old heads to come in, we are a dynamic team with pass and move and this will get better and better as we do it week in week out, we don't need statues in there to slow it all down, we need to have faith and get behind the lads and inspire them and give them the confidence to keep playing football.

Share your views on the Blackburn game in our forums on the match day thread.

Blackburn Rovers Line-up:
Steele, Baptiste, Hanley, Duffy, Olsson, Cairney, Evans (Taylor 89), Williamson (Tunnicliffe 65), Marshall, Rhodes, Gestede (Varney 73)
Unused Subs: Eastwood, Henley, Dunn, Conway

Leeds United Line-up:
Silvestri, Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock, Mowatt, Cook (Sharp 88), Bianchi (Bellusci 76), Adryan, Doukara, Antenucci
Unused Subs: S Taylor, Berardi, Austin, Tonge, Dawson

Attendance: 21,432 (6,839 Leeds)

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