Red­fearn feels the pres­sure

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Aaron Bower

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

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

kick Adryan tries an over­head

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