Date:Sunday February 26 2012
Neil Warnock took charge of his first Leeds United game at Portsmouth on Saturday and here are my views on his first game in charge.
I was a little surprised to see just one change to the side, and that was enforced with Michael Brown in for Andros Townsend.
On the bench, we saw the return of Billy Paynter to the squad for the first time since e opening day of the season.
Since his appointment last week, he has spoken about our problems defensively. The defence still looks a long way from sorted but what we saw in front of them were two midfielders in Michael Brown and Adam Clayton working tirelessly for the side, something we have been crying out for in midfield for a long time.
Last week we saw Robert Snodgrass given a role against Doncaster Rovers in the second half, where he played in behind the strikers.
At Portsmouth, he was again in this position, with leading goalscorer Ross McCormack playing out on the left and Aidy White on the right.
I am all in favour of Snodgrass being given this role and I think Warnock is looking at Snodgrass having the same impact that Adel Taarabt had for him at Queens Park Rangers last season. For long periods, Snodgrass looked lost as the ball bypassed him, usually straight over his head. McCormack was wasted out on the left, but when he had the ball, he looked lively. Aidy White is left footed, so why not play him on the left?
McCormack and Snodgrass changed roles for the final ten minutes of the first half and we looked more dangerous but second half they reverted back and never changed.
Last week, Warnock hinted that Becchio would be the target man, he wasn`t kidding! The problem was, Becchio was up against a defence full of string six footers and he rarely won a header all afternoon.
Or lack of them.
He named five outfield players on the bench but made just one substitution and that was enforced.
With twenty minutes remaining, Leeds were crying out for a change. Lloyd Sam would have been an ideal replacement for White who was making little impact and, I cannot believe I am going to say this, Paytner should have been given a chance to do what Becchio had failed to do and win headers up front or even Forssell.
What a refreshing change to see a manager animated on the sidelines. He kicked and headed ever ball and it didn`t take him long to have a go at the officials.
He came over and saluted the travelling Leeds fans at the end and it was nice to see some real appreciation for the 3,000 plus who had made the trip.
It is definitely a step in the right direction. We looked much more like a team, one willing to work hard and not turn up, be paid and go home.
The game definitely was there to be won and we had a couple of good chances to claim the three points.
He is definitely concentrating on sorting out the defensive side of the team but I just hope this is not at the expense of our creativity.
He gave Snodgrass the armband and he has said he will be captain for the remainder of the season. He is definitely the leader on and off the pitch and a great choice for captain.
Things will take time. He has inherited an average squad that have been underperforming for far too long and it is hard to make a can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Rome was not built in a day (catchphrase overload now) and it will be a gradual improvement, which looks like needing a huge clear out in the summer and his own squad being built to really go for it next season.
I am sure he will get it right. For me, definitely the right appointment for the club and Leeds United and Colin are a marriage made in heaven.
We are not liked, he is not liked, so let us stick two fingers up to the lot of them. It will probably not be this season, but definitely next.
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Date:Sunday February 26 2012
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