‘Watermelon’ off to sour start
DARKO MILANIC was given a tough first lesson in English football and he admits he’s not yet had time to understand his players, or the Championship.
The Whites were vastly inferior to Brentford and grateful to goalkeeper Marco Silvestri for keeping the score respectable.
To add to the confusion, United owner Massimo Cellino said he did not know why he chose Milanic, labelling him a “watermelon” because he will find out about him when he opens him.
And after the defeat Milanic said: “We were not good enough in the first half. Bad in possession.We weren’t dangerous.
“We need to play with a more positive mentality. In the second half we were better, but Brentford were very good, very dangerous.
“I had only three sessions with the players, so I had a lot of input from everyone. It wasn’t enough.
“This was a better experi- ence for me than one training session. I saw how the players move and think. This was very important.
“Generally, I know this is a very difficult, strong, powerful league. Teams play directly with a lot of forwards, but to know every team, every player better, I need time.”
In case Milanic views “watermelon” as too much of a compliment, Cellino made the same comparison about his predecessor, only to sack him six games later.
Cellino added to his burgeoning reputation for eccentricity by being asked to leave his seat among the home fans.
He re-appeared on the front row of the away terrace, alongside sporting director Nicola Salerno.
But, following ten points from 12 under caretaker Neil Redfearn, he would not have appreciated what he saw.
Despite Brentford’s numerous chances, Leeds’ back four defended adequately but were not helped by a midfield strung in a narrow, central line.
Only Souleymane Doukara ventured near the touchline going forward – oddly there was no right-wing equivalent – but even he was pushed infield by Milanic, and Brentford dominated the area around holding midfielder Lewis Cook.
Former Leeds player Jonathan Douglas’ pass enabled Andre Gray to earn a penalty from Giuseppi Bellusci’s foul, though James Tarkowski hammered the penalty over.
Eventually Brentford’s domination bore fruit, inevitably via a through ball. Jota was given too much space to receive Douglas’ pass, avoid Jason Pearce’s lunging challenge and score.
The Italian kept his side in the game with a string of saves, but his goal was finally breached again by Alan McCormack. Released by Douglas’ quick free-kick, the right-back saw his shot lift over Silvestri via a deflection.
Brentford manager Mark Warburton said: “I thought it was a very dominant performance. Good tempo, good quality and the only criticism is we weren't clinical enough in front of goal.
“The defence was resolute and strong. God knows how many kilometres Douglas covered, likewise Alan Judge.
“We had good quality. Our attacking threat was very evident. I’m delighted for Jota – it was a great goal; good feet and a good finish.
“All round I thought we looked very good.”
BROTHERS IN ARMS: Jota Peleteiro (third right) enjoys the congratulations of his team-mates after scoring Brentford’s first goal
with fans UP CLOSE: Leeds owner