THERE can be little doubt that four defeats in the last five league outings have dented the feel-good factor that had been surrounding Leeds United when sitting atop the Championship.
For captain Liam Cooper, however, the Elland Road club’s slump in form is no reason to panic.
“We definitely shouldn’t over-react,” said the Hull-born defender about a run that has taken Thomas Christiansen’s side from first to sixth in the table.
“I don’t think much has changed. I think we have maybe looked a bit tired in the last couple of games, but you are going to get those feelings during the season.
“It is about how you come through them and we need to put it right, and put it right quickly.
“Training has been sharp and we have worked a lot on the opposition. We know what we are going into this game to do and we are very confident.”
Today brings a big test for Leeds, who take on a Bristol City side who have emerged as a genuine contender for promotion under Lee Johnson.
The Robins sit one point and two places above United in the table and Cooper added: “They have been doing very well. They have brought in quite a few players like ourselves and they are up there as well. You could call it a six pointer, if you wanted.
“What they do won’t come as a surprise. We have studied and analysed them. We will be going full tilt.”
After keeping six clean sheets in the opening seven league fixtures of the season, United’s defence has suddenly taken on a porous look.
I don’t think much has changed. I think we have maybe looked a bit tired in the last couple of games, but you are going to get those feelings during the season.Leeds United’s Liam Cooper
Ten goals have been conceded in the last five outings but Cooper believes Leeds occupying a place in the top six even after the poor recent run is testament to the quality in the squad.
“Being up there is good,” added the former Tigers defender. “But you are always wanting to better yourselves.
“If this hadn’t have happened, we would be top of the league. That is the Championship. We will be doing everything we can to put it right because we can’t stay like this much longer.”
Victory at Ashton Gate, of course, would help alleviate the anxiety that has built up lately among supporters.
“It is hard but we have got a lot of players in the team who have played in the Championship for five years,” added Cooper. “We are used to it and we know what it takes. Sometimes, you have got to go away from home and win ugly. Maybe not be as good as we want to be but get the win.”