The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.
So Tel said that he was delighted with the display last night and the way the team battled together and for once I almost agree with him. I thought Leeds battled really well with Okon and Bakke both putting in 100% effort. I really don't rate Bakke but I've got to hand it to the lad he gave it his all last night , a really big effort. Unfortunately this is the problem at the moment - loads of effort , little quality and ultimately lack of fitness tells in the second half. Bakke put so much into that first half but was blowing out of his arse for the last 20 minutes.
Sub ??? Okon , after an anonymous debut alongside Mcphail actually had a very effective game. Same as Bakke though he tired towards the end. He held the middle of the park very well and gave a very David Batty like performance without the adventure. If tel won't play Johnson, Batty or Dacourt I do think there is a future for Okon on that performance. The only problem with playing Bakke and Okon is that Bowyer gets shoved right and was very uneffective last night. He had a poor game. Bowyer should play alongside Okon in the centre. Bakke scoring just clouds the issue. We'll never win anything with Bakke in the team. It has took Tel a long time to realise that Mcphail was a weak link , hopefully he'll get round to Bakke sooner rather than late. Harsh ? Not really , just the truth.
So , no Mcphail and we still lost, why ? Well, we weren't overrun in midfield for once but we were shambolic at the back. Gary Kelly at left back is a brave decision and like when Mills and Lucic played there it didn't work. Turning inside on every occasion to pump s***e balls across field is not what we're after Tel. Credit for realising that almost everything is better than Harte but surely Radebe at left back would have been better. At least he can defend. Duberry was s***e. He'll always win his fair share of 50-50 balls because he's a big lad (apparently !) but his distribution is the worse I've seen since Kenny Burns. Duberry is a donkey but hang on a minute , Tony Adams was a donkey so what does that make Dubes ?? When you couple those two with Mills returning and an out of form Woodgate and a young inexperienced keeper it looks very dodgy. What was Mills doing for the first goal ? and Woody's defending for the second was schoolboy stuff and where why was Robbo standing under the large screen. So out of position it was untrue. I could have thrown my f'cking hat on that one. We need to get Woody a steady partner and we need to get a left back in the January sales.
Up front - oh dear, poor old Bridges. Knackers yard I think. I love Bridges. I think Bridges and Kewell could have terrorised premiership defences. They both have skill and pace and can both score goals. Last night we were treated to Smith and Fowler , another partnership that is doomed to failure. Too alike and little pace. How many balls were played through and the crowd roared "Go on Robbie" but the little fat man just didn't have the legs. Ok, he's been out for ages but having seen him fit last season it doesn't get much better in that department I'm afraid. Both need to play with someone who is fast and can drag defenders around giving them more space to do something. Smith is not a target man. He spends all his time battling and scrapping for every ball. He's better than that. When he scored 4 he had Kewell making runs and making space for him in the box. Say what you want about Kewell but we miss him badly. Without Kewell we don't have that extra edge , the one person who is going to do something to turn a game. It's all huff and puff. 10 out 10 lads for effort but it's just not good enough at the moment.
Crowd were ok but we did get "Batty" and "Time to Go" and also "You're just a s*** cockney b'stard" - nice one lads. Just what we need to get us out of a slump. I don't like Tel and don't want him as manager but I think he will get it right , he just seems very slow at getting there.
Okon looked pretty useful! What?? He's a well below average Prem player, at very best. How do we gauge our players nowadays, on how much effort they show?? Ability wise he was average at very best.
Just returned form the game tonight , and man for man we were second best by a mile, we think the world of Smith...commitment, heart , endeavour and some talent,but their forwards...from a team currently mid table in La Liga were head and shoulders above him...they were footballers as were there midfielders , not just journeymen, they knew what to do with the ball when they received it, their first touch was instinctive, they controlled it and looked to move it on in a positive fashion, we were woeful in comparism, this isn't something that can be rectified by coaching, or extra work on the training ground, we just don't have the same quality of player...not one of them compared tonight. the closest we got was Bridges for 5 mins and Fowler for 85 mins, they are born footballers, not players with little natural talent that make up for their lack of natural talent with endeavour...you can't get by with just this nowadays!!
Bowyer ...a joke, should have been sent off first half without question
We need some footballers, they don't have to be big names, they just need to be able to play the game properly, we need a midfielder or two who's primary job is to create things or at least play a positive ball, sheer huff and puff aint enough at this level, surely this is clear by now, notice the way their players seem to use less energy, almost strolling around the park, just playing easy balls that are constructive, not Mcphail type balls but the type that will stretch defences and open them up...the way Parker does for Charlton, and Berkovic does for Man City, or even Marsden does for Southampton, these are all clubs who are likely to be struggling at some stage this season but with these players they are always likely to create something and at least make the other team think and work for their points.
I was disgusted by tonight's performance, very similar to the Charlton game, now is not the time that you can get by with players that are just committed and that give 100%, you need much much more
Not sure a change of manager will necessarily do the trick, unless of course he was allowed a complete overhaul, and was allowed to start bringing in some quality players. I've said before I think the main problem is that we have many many over rated players, the nucleus of the squad are just NOT good enough footballers at this level, until this problem is addressed and sorted we'll forever be looking at other reasons for our demise.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 13/12/2002.
Leeds were squeezed out of the Uefa Cup yesterday on a night in which sorrow and self-pity entwined with spite and stupidity, one in which a fan was arrested after trying to confront Terry Venables and serious fears were raised about whether the career of Michael Bridges might be finished at the age of 24.
As if that were not enough, Lee Bowyer's magnetic attraction for controversy resurfaced with a stamp into an opponent's face that is certain to prompt a Uefa investigation and Venables also had to contend with two of his players, Gary Kelly and Jason Wilcox, squaring up to each other in the second half.
Shortly afterwards Julio Dely Valdes tricked Jonathan Woodgate and volleyed in his second goal of a night that ended with more chants against Venables and might have serious repercussions, not just for the manager but several of his players.