Leeds United boss left to rue defensive lapses

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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With Leeds United now just two points above the relegation zone and their next two games coming up against sides in the top four Neil Redfearn is feeling his first pressure since taking over the head coach position at Elland Road.

Redfearn will need no reminding that his predecessors lasted just six games each so defeats against top of the table Derby County this Saturday and fourth-placed Ipswich Town the following week would leave him nervous of any calls to see owner Massimo Cellino.

And just four points from his first four games in charge have left Redfearn vulnerable unless he can quickly cut out the kind of defensive lapses that have blighted United in recent games.

There was little the boss could do about Blackburn Rovers’ late winner last Saturday after former Leeds player Luke Varney ensured his status as a hate figure at Elland Road with a dive to win a penalty for the latest club in his much travelled career.

But after United had led through Souleymane Doukara and looked to be comfortably holding onto their lead they came up with one of many gifts handed out by the defence this season when goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and defender Liam Cooper got in a right old mess to hand Jordan Rhodes with the easiest of goals.

It was reminiscent of a similar goal at Cardiff City earlier in the month and it proved a real turning point in the game with Leeds going on to lose 2-1.

Redfearn accepted his side had got to see out games better and be more decisive in defence, but hoped it was part of a learning process.

He said: “The first goal was a mix-up between the goalkeeper and the centre-half. I would say that the goalkeeper was favourite, he’s coming onto it.

“We need to sort it out, we need to grow up. It’s part of growing up. This was the message in the dressing room and the criticism that I aimed at them and the things that I said to them. It’s the stuff that gets us across the line.

“But we’ve got to pick ourselves up and go again.

“They’re a young side, they’re learning. It’s going to take time, I realise that.”

Despite the latest defeat Redfearn saw some positives to come out of the game and believed the team was on the right track.

He added:“I’ve got to be upbeat about the performance because they’re playing well.

“We’ve got to do that against Derby now, we’ve got to make sure the performance is right and we play right. We’ve got to be more thorough.

“We’ve done the hard bit, we’ve played well, we’ve got ourselves in front. Then you’ve got to manage the game and make it difficult for Blackburn. So it’s part of the learning process.

“We were the better side. “I think that if we’d have come away with a point I would have been gutted. I thought we passed the ball well, but if you look back and be honest with yourself, it’s not a complete performance because we conceded two goals.

“We’ve got to have that ruthless edge and we’ve got to get across the line because the performance deserved a result.”