With chants of “Warnock, time to go” ringing round the Leeds end, and Eddie Gray using the phrase “about as bad as it gets” (and that was only at half time!), it can only be our customary defeat at Oakwell.
Whilst the cries will almost inevitably be for GFH to splash the cash before the end of January, perhaps we should be looking at our Manager instead. Lets get this straight, we’ve just been out fought, and out thought, by Barnsley. A team who are bottom of the league, and currently without a Manager. Leeds fans would be within their rights to question a performance of this ineptitude against one of the top sides in the division, but against the bottom? The team selection for this game, and lets face it, a lot of games recently, was all wrong. Why, why, why are we persisting with Lee Peltier at left back? The only possible reason I can offer is that having made him captain, Warnock feels he has to pick him. Byram is a better right back than him, so he crowbars him in at left back, and pretty much ignores Adam Drury, who, lets not forget, was actually playing regularly at left back in the Premier League last season! Moving inside, how can Warnock justify leaving Tom Lees on the bench? He’s a better defender than either Pearce or Tate. Give me a couple of weeks training and I’d probably be a better defender than Tate…
In midfield, I have no idea what’s happened to Rodolph Austin. Indestructible earlier in the season, he now seems incapable of finding a white shirt. Whether over used, or brought back too early, we seem to have broken him. David Norris seems to fall into the bracket of having one decent game followed by five poor games. A bit like Jonny Howson used to be, just without the goals, skill, or Leeds roots. Michael Tonge and Paul Green are slightly better, they seem to at least have one decent game in three. I’m not even going to mention Luke Varney or Aidy White, neither of them should be anywhere near a Leeds United shirt.
Up front is the only area I feel any sympathy for the players. Becchio is having a fantastic season, and McCormack, with the right service, is a quality player. Diouf has shown his quality in his time with us, but is also capable of going missing.
Throw all this together, and what have you got? A back four that, for all the talk of improving a defence that leaked goals alarmingly under Grayson, really hasn’t improved. Playing players out of position, and picking loan players who are going through the motions is clearly not the answer. Paddy Kisnorbo may not be the player he was, but he would wear his heart on his sleeve, and would at least rally the back four! A midfield that might put in a half decent performance for one game out of every three. The only chink of light in that area is Ross Barkley, and he could foreseeably be gone in 4 weeks. There’s no skill, no width and no pace. If you’re missing that, hard work MIGHT get you out of trouble, at the moment we don’t even have that.
The forwards, as I touched on before, have my sympathy. Lionel Messi would struggle to score if he played in front of our midfield.
So where do we go from here? It seems inconceivable that GFH will let Warnock throw millions around at this point. Salem Patel spoke of the difficulty in doing business in January when the takeover was completed. If GFH are looking towards the summer to invest in the team, is it time to look at the Managers position long term? Neil Warnock has not committed to anything beyond the end of the season, so should GFH be looking at hitting him with an ultimatum? Commit beyond the end of this season, and we will make funds available. If not, a parting of the ways now might make more sense. It would give a prospective new Manager the rest of this season to assess where things are going wrong, and rebuild for another crack next season. If we go down that route though it HAS to be a long term appointment, a young a Manager with fresh ideas and a different footballing philosophy. We cannot afford another short term fix, or we will be having the same discussions in 6/9/12 months time.
If you’re on Twitter then why not give us a follow @RITGK[info]Reporter – Ian Wylie[/info]