I’M TO BLAME, SAYS LIVERANI

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Sean Kearns

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.”

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