Marco Silvestri admitted that Leeds United had allowed a win to slip away against Bolton Wanderers but claimed a point would go down as a good result after a 1-1 draw at the Macron Stadium.
The Italian goalkeeper spoke of a “positive” mood in United’s dressing room and said the new formation employed by head coach Neil Redfearn had suited the club’s players during a lively game in Lancashire.
Redfearn used a 4-2-3-1 system on Saturday, the tactics he experimented with in Leeds’ FA Cup tie at Sunderland eight days ago, and his side opened the scoring after three minutes when Rudy Austin converted a penalty won by Sam Byram.
Bolton equalised shortly after half-time through a penalty from Eidur Gudjohnsen –an award which both Redfearn and Bolton manager Neil Lennon questioned – and Silvestri was happy to take a point at full-time against a side who have earned 25 from Lennon’s 14 matches in charge.
Leeds remain in serious relegation trouble, now 21st in the Championship, but Silvestri said: “It was a good result because we were playing away against a good team. It was important for us to get (at least) a point.
“It’s positive in the dressing room and if we don’t concede the penalty at the start of the second-half, we win.
“We played well and had a lot of chances. With this system we are more compact and I see that we play better. The players had a good game in the second half at Sunderland and here we played well too.”
United were left to rue a chance passed up by striker Steve Morison shortly after Austin’s opener, and Luke Murphy and Byram both had opportunities to settle the match in the second half. Morison and Byram were denied by excellent saves from Bolton goalkeeper Andy Lonergan.
The result, however, scured Leeds’ their sixth point away from home this season, leaving them two clear of the relegation places.
Silvestri, who is midway through his first year in England, said: “This is the Championship and we need to be strong and hard because that is what the other teams are. It’s a very difficult league. I’s a strong league and the football here is physical with a lot of technique.”
United owner Massimo Cellino, who spent a fortnight in Miami on business over Christmas and New Year, failed to attend Saturday’s match after his flight home from America was delayed.
He and Redfearn, however, will hold further talks about transfer targets this week with the January window already approaching the halfway stage.
A striker is high on United’s list of priorities, with Redfearn keen to take Luciano Becchio from Norwich City and Leeds also looking at signing Leonardo Pavoletti from Sassuolo, and the club have now gone more than 10 hours without scoring from open play.
But Redfearn, who praised Leeds’ performance at Bolton, said: “Goals have got to come from all over and the midfielders have got to start scoring goals. A set plays, centre-halves have got to get up there. We can’t just rely on strikers. They’ve got to come from other areas too.”
Cellino, meanwhile, will have his appeal against a Football League ruling disqualifying him as United’s owner heard in London by the League’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on Thursday.
A verdict is not expected until early next month.