Patience being tested as Leeds United struggle to learn lessons

Right now it is looking like another of those all too common false dawns at Elland Road.

Thursday, 2nd November 2017, 1:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:24 pm
Pierre-Michel Lassoga strikes Leeds' goal against Derby before it all went wrong for his side.

After a promising start to the season Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen has increasing problems to solve with six defeats in their last seven matches and the first real signs that fans are beginning to lose patience.

Such is the competitive nature of the Sky Bet Championship that the Whites are still in seventh place so it is by no means all doom and gloom, but the 2017-18 side is clearly still a work in progress - and that progress is clearly stalling.

The players – and a head coach with no previous experience of the English Championship – are being taught lessons as they go on and how quickly they learn will ultimately decide how far the team can go this season.

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Everyone needs to quickly adapt to derby games that is for sure after Leeds made it an unwanted double by losing to Sheffield United after already losing to Sheffield Wednesday.

With more Yorkshire derbies to come against Barnsley and Hull City and games against Middlesbrough, which will feel like derbies because of the Garry Monk factor, there is going to be plenty of practice at how to cope with the hot atmosphere these matches bring.

The competitive nature of such games are currently a problem for a Leeds team that seems to need time to get the ball down and play the football they are capable of. When hurried and up against teams employing pressing tactics they have been found wanting so far.

Fans are certainly letting the team know about their failings with some massive criticism across social media, both of individual performances and selections.

Questions are being asked about whether several of the summer signings are good enough to play for the Whites and it seems Christiansen does not have as many options as he could do with to get the side playing more consistently.

The excellent away win against a Bristol City side that just a few days later put four goals past Premier League Crystal Palace took the pressure off somewhat and at least gave United one win in this latest batch of matches between international breaks.

But after back to back home defeats against Sheffield United and Derby Christiansen has admitted they are in must win territory this Saturday at Brentford.

He said: “We need to win on Saturday against Brentford, that is for sure, we can’t go on like this.

“I think we did enough to win the game (against Derby). Until their first goal, they didn’t have any opportunities, we restricted Derby to long range shots.

“We had good opportunities to score, but we didn’t put them in and finally we lost another game.

“It is not good enough and we have to change that.”

With just one win in eight meetings in recent years with the London side Leeds have not found it easy playing Brentford and although they went many years without playing them their last win at Griffin Park was way back in 1950.

For the next meeting United will have midfielder Kalvin Phillips back after he had to sit out last night’s match due to a one match suspension for picking up five bookings this season.

Skipper Liam Cooper picked up a dead leg injury in the Blades defeat, but is not expected to be out for long and has given Pontus Jansson a way straight back into the side after he had been left out for a couple of league matches.

Brentford go into the contest off the back of a 2-0 win at Birmingham and although down in 15th place they have actually lost two less than Leeds and have had most efforts on goal in the division. They lost some key players in the summer, but have a committed group that will not make it easy for the Whites who are now short on confidence.