Consistent Leeds United to meet fellow draw specialists
Leeds United have certainly been the model of consistency so far this season, but when that is going to translate to wins is the million dollar question (writes Tony Harber).
With four draws from four games in the Sky Bet Championship and effectively a draw as well in their Capital One Cup tie the Whites have had a start under new head coach Uwe Rosler that no-one could have been predicted.
In a short space of time Rosler has made Leeds hard to beat and none of their opponents have outplayed them over 90 minutes so far.
But then again they have not exactly torn anyone to pieces either and four points so far has to be below par no matter how difficult the schedule has been.
United can count themselves unlucky not to have tasted victory, however, as late goals against Burnley and Bristol City – when two up with only a minute of normal time to play – have cost them dearly and they made most of the running and created the better chances in the 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.
Only a “wonder goal” in the words of Rosler by Marco Matias allowed the Owls to escape with a point from Elland Road as Chris Wood equalised and Leeds had just about all the play after the break.
That elusive first win escaped the Whites, however, and they now face a tough task in their next three games to get off the mark as they play three of the top eight from last year.
The first of them comes away at Derby County on Saturday in another Sky game with an early kick-off (12.05pm) before Leeds play Brentford and early pacesetters Ipswich Town at home.
At least there is a welcome break after the Derby match and Rosler is also happy that because of his side’s cup exit they have a free week to prepare for this weekend’s trip to the iPro Stadium.
United will be facing opponents also under new management and still finding their feet with Paul Clement taking over from Steve McLaren in the summer.
Amazingly Derby have also drawn their first four games and went out of the Capital One Cup to lower league opposition so a tight game looks on the cards.
Leeds boss Rosler has finally been able to draw breath after the hectic start to the season and will have time to ponder his team selection with more options at his disposal.
He has been rotating players in a bid to keep them as sharp as they can be, but can now look at getting his strongest 11 out on the pitch and to that end has talented young midfielder Lewis Cook back after he has had to sit out the last three games due to suspension for his sending off at Doncaster.
Rosler declared himself pleased with the efforts of his players so far despite the lack of a win.
He said: “I’m delighted, absolutely delighted with my players.
“Everyone who’s played football knows what it’s like to be in the third week of the season playing four games in nine days, three of them away from home.
“We came back from 1-0 down against a team who didn’t attack us in any form or shape. My players knocked on the door and did everything we asked. Yes, there were mistakes but we made it up with endeavour, with character, with everything. What more can I ask for?
“From all four games this was the last one where I was wishing to go 1-0 down. We knew the last game from this schedule was the hardest one.
“This was all about us coming through this schedule. I’ll repeat myself – it’s massively unfair. People pay a lot of money to watch a game of football and we’re not in a position to give them all that we can football-wise because of it.
“But we’re still producing results. That makes me happy.”