The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­

BLACK­POOL pro­vided a writ­ten re­sponse to their fans’ let­ter of dis­con­tent ear­lier this week – the an­swer on the pitch, how­ever, was nowhere to be seen.

A de­cent Leeds per­for­mance was made to look in­domitable by a ter­ri­ble Black­pool side, and a Luke Mur­phy dou­ble pushed the Seasiders down to just two points above the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

It was this kind of show­ing that has left Black­pool with just two wins in 26 games and prompted the Black­pool Sup­port­ers As­so­ci­a­tion to write to the club ques­tion­ing the com­mit­ment of some play­ers.

Those con­cerns will only grow af­ter this re­sult, par­tic­u­larly with three pro­mo­tion con­tenders in Burn­ley, Brighton and Wi­gan up next for Black­pool, but as­sis­tant man­ager Malky Thom­son down­played the is­sue.

He said:“I think there was con­fu­sion about the let­ter be­cause cer­tainly the fans we spoke to re­gard­ing the let­ter – there was no mal­ice in­volved.

“It was just hon­est fans look­ing to make sure that the club stay in the league and the same with the play­ers. There’s no prob­lem there at all.

“Cer­tainly the boys that we’ve got, we’ve got ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers with a real pride in their pro­fes­sion.

“It’s tough when you go on a run of games and you’re not get­ting the re­sults be­cause fans are only in­ter­ested in win­ning – and rightly so.

“So then they blame other ar­eas and ask if you’re be­ing pro­fes­sional but I can 100 per cent guar­an­tee and as­sure you that the play­ers at Black­pool Foot­ball Club right now are com­mit­ted and very pro­fes­sional in their at­ti­tude to­wards what they are try­ing to achieve.”

Black­pool re­ceived a warn­ing prior to Leeds’ first goal, with Mur­phy run­ning in be­hind the de­fence 14 min­utes in, only to be de­nied by Craig Cath­cart’s slid­ing tackle.

Mur­phy was not bested seven min­utes later though, again run­ning from deep to meet Ross McCormack’s through ball and hold­ing off Cath­cart be­fore pok­ing past Matt Gilks.

Black­pool’s best op­por­tu­nity came ten min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val as Neal Bishop met Tony McMa­hon’s cross from deep with a div­ing header but he couldn’t keep his ef­fort un­der the bar.

It will be Mur­phy’s per­for­mance that draws the head­lines, but credit should also go to Tom Lees, who mar­shalled the Leeds de­fence as Brian McDer­mott re­turned to a 3-5-2 for­ma­tion.

So it was grat­i­fy­ing to see Lees play a big part in Leeds’ sec­ond, putting a ball for­ward for Noel Hunt to flick on to Mur­phy, who put a beau­ti­ful dink over Gilks.

Some dark clouds re­main over El­land Road fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of man­ag­ing di­rec­tor David Haigh on Fri­day and the dis­cov­ery of hid­den cam­eras around the ground, in­clud­ing the board room, by new owner Mas­simo Cellino’s se­cu­rity men.

But Leeds will hope that this re­sult – only their sec­ond win in 13 games – will put their on-field trou­bles be­hind them fol­low­ing Cellino’s takeover.

And Leeds boss McDer­mott said:“We got paid on Fri­day and it just feels like a new time. I dread to think what pos­si­bly could have hap­pened if Mas­simo didn’t come in. He got a great re­cep­tion from the fans, who were fan­tas­tic, and he de­served it.

“We can talk about player re­cruit­ment now. We can start talk­ing about pre-sea­son, we can talk about plan­ning ahead, we can talk about play­ers, we can talk about an aw­ful lot of things that we haven’t been talk­ing about, which is great for me.

“It’s been re­ally tough, and I can say that now, though I couldn’t say it at the time. Go­ing for­ward now it just feels like a dif­fer­ent place, it re­ally does. It just feels like we’re se­cure now.”

PIC­TURE: Andrew Var­ley

SMART FIN­ISH: Luke Mur­phy scores Leeds’ sec­ond. In­set: The 24-year-old bags his first

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