Leeds need to finally exorcise the demons of last season against Wigan today

01 Feb 2020 09:21 am, by YorkshireSquare

Wigan Athletic sit in twenty-second place in the Championship, nearly thirty points behind Leeds United. This Saturday afternoons game is easy on paper, but it was the game against ‘The Latics on Good Friday last year when the wheels fell off Leeds United’s promotion push. It was a nervy start to the game but things were going our way, Wigan down to ten men and a penalty for Leeds. An excruciating miss from our talisman Pablo Hernandez but Patrick Bamford settled the nerves to put Leeds in front. Then everything went wrong. Wigan caught us on the break scoring twice from their only two shots on target. We never looked comfortable on the ball and despite 36 shots we couldn’t get past the bus parked in Wigan’s penalty area.

It was gutting, the worst I’ve felt as a Leeds fan. So much worse than relegation against Bolton or Ipswich, worse than play-off defeat to Watford or Doncaster because there had been hope. Yes, we were still level on point with Sheffield United but it felt like we had blown it, the performance more so than the result felt like we had capitulated in the worst possible way, choked at the last minute. The Monday loss to Brentford didn’t hurt as much, I felt numb, I almost expected us to lose after Sheffield United had thumped Hull. There was still a modicum of hope of course but it played out much the same as the Friday, more possession, more shots but caught out on the break twice again. Pablo looked heartbroken at full time.

The end of last season, the loss to Wigan particularly hurt so much because there was hope and hope is something which had been in short supply at Elland Road for the previous nine years. Andrea Radrizzani has made mistakes but he seems to learn from them, to see him, Angus Kinnear and Victor Orta jumping around like lunatics when we score you get the feeling they get Leeds, they really care. Bielsa has been a revelation, as much philosopher as coach he has made us appreciate what is most important, the football, and some of the football played the past two seasons has been an absolute joy.

Rather than dwell on the misery of last season Bielsa and the team have turned that heart-break into a desire to get the job done this season. Bielsa has transformed this team, who am I to underestimate them. Sure, we have had our wobble but if Tuesday night taught me anything it’s not to give up. Off the back of that amazing comeback victory against Millwall we need to push on, beat Wigan and finally exorcise the demons of last season.