Redfearn feels the pressure
LEEDS United manager Neil Redfearn admitted to feeling the heat after his side slipped to back-to-back Championship defeats with a home loss to Fulham.
United’s first home defeat under Redfearn – in a game which saw the return of former Leeds captain Ross McCormack for the first time since his summer switch from Elland Road – saw the Whites slip to 19th on the Championship ladder off the back of Hugo Rodallega’s strike.
Leeds are now just five points clear of the relegation zone, leaving Redfearn admitting he’s worried over their league position.
“The table is a concern, of course it is,” Redfearn said. “Our recent run is not good enough, and when you go through a blip it will reflect on your league standing pretty heavily.
“It magnifies a defeat when you’re so low on the table, and our position in the league is now a real concern. We’re playing better though, and whilst we didn’t hit those recent heights here we are getting there.
“For the first time at home, we seemed to lack a bit of conviction in our play. The previous three games here we’ve had it, but the devil left us here. It’s really disappointing because we’ve had some good momentum at home, but for whatever reason here it just didn’t happen for us.We had enough opportunities in and around the box to get something out of it.”
Leeds had perhaps the best chance of the first half, when Alex Mowatt’s thumping header rattled the bar, before bouncing off the back of Gabor Kiraly and harmlessly out of play to see the chance pass.
McCormack struggled in the opening half – kick-off aside, it took him eight minutes to get his first touch of the ball – with his play perhaps best summed up by the moment he slipped in the area when through on goal.
However, the Fulham skipper improved after the break, as did the whole team, and they took the lead right on the hour mark. Lasse Vigen Christensen broke down the right after shaking off Tommaso Bianchi, and he cleverly squared the ball for Rodallega to smash home.
That prompted Leeds into an instant change, but even the introduction of Billy Sharp from the bench couldn’t transform their fortunes,as Fulham shook off last weekend's 5-0 thumping by Watford with three precious points.
And boss Kit Symons admitted afterwards his side got what they deserved, as well as praising his team for bouncing back so well after that heavy defeat last time out.
“I think we were the worthy winners. Leeds have got a great home record under Neil and we knew it would be a tough game. However, I was pleased with the performance and obviously the result,” Symons said.
“A clean sheet is hugely important for us, especially after getting battered by Watford 5-0 the week before.
“It was important we tightened up and showed real character, which is exactly what we did here.
“We knew it was going to be really difficult, but we had to dig in and work hard for each other.To a man, we played for each other here.
“It was a real tight affair but I think we just about did enough to win it. Hugo can’t seem to stop scoring at the moment, and hopefully that continues for a long time.”
MAN OF THE MOMENT: Fulham’s Hugo Rodallega celebrates scoring his side’s winning goal with Bryan Ruiz and team-mates
kick Adryan tries an overhead