I’M TO BLAME, SAYS LIVERANI
LEYTON Orient boss Fabio Liverani insists any discussions about his future will have to wait until the season finishes after the O’s let a crucial lead slip to pile on their relegation worries.
Results elsewhere ensured Orient receieved a stay of execution in their final home game of the season, but they are now favourites for the drop when they travel to in-form Swindon next week.
Mathieu Baudry’s thumping header 18 minutes from time looked to have given Orient a valuable three points, but they were pegged back just five minutes later when Bob Harris’ 25-yard strike deflected past Alex Cisak for a share of the spoils.
Liverani lamented his side’s inability to hold onto their lead and concedes he will hold talks with owner Francesco Becchetti when the season ends.
“I take full responsibility for what we’ve failed to achieve since I’ve taken charge,” said Liverani.
“We were 1-0 up and should have been stronger at the back to not concede chances to Sheffield United, but unfortunately we did and it’s no longer in our own hands.
“I have a very honest and frank relationship with the president and of course he’s disappointed, how could he not be?
“He’s invested a lot of money into this club in the hope that we could get promoted to the Championship but now we’re battling relegation.
“We have not had a conversation yet about what’s going to happen next but we will wait until after Sunday’s match and see how it goes.”
After a tense first half, in which the Blades dominated, it was Orient that scored the opening goal after 71 minutes when Baudry met Dean Cox’s corner with a powerful header to give the home side the lead.
However, the Blades needed a point to confirm their place in the play-offs and they levelled terms just five minutes later when Harris’ long-range effort deflected past the helpless Cisak.
The visitors looked the more likely to snatch all three points in the dying stages and came close to doing so when former Everton man Jose Baxter crashed a freekick against the crossbar.
A point was all the Blades needed and manager Nigel Clough insists the play-offs will suit his players, who have developed a reputation of rising to the biggest occasions during the last 18 months.
“It’s never mattered to me who we face,” said Clough.
“The focus has always been on getting into the play-offs and now that we are there we know we stand as good a chance as anybody.
“I think we’ve shown in the last 18 months to two years that we can turn it on in the big games and it’s going to be two unbelievably big games against whoever it is we face, be it Swindon, MK Dons or Preston.
“We wanted to win as it’s a good habit to go and win games, but I never felt like we were in danger of losing the game, even in the last five or ten minutes.”