NEVER a truer sentence was spoken by Neil Redfearn than when he recently said that Leeds United’s season would be a case of one step forward, one step back.
After the highs of Derby County came the fall in the shape of an at times brutal defeat at Ipswich Town on Saturday, with the hosts handing Leeds a lesson in Championship savvy at Portman Road.
After the fillip of Mirco Antenucci’s early opener, Leeds disintegrated defensively in damning fashion with Daryl Murphy grabbing two goals and strike partner David McGoldrick adding a penalty before Christophe Berra applied the gloss with a fourth early in the second half.
The only saving grace for lightweight Leeds was that there was no further damage on an afternoon when they looked susceptible at the back for virtually the game’s entirety.
It extended Leeds’ wretched away form this term, which has seen them accrue just one victory.
All told, United’s long-suffering supporters have witnessed just four league victories on the road in 2014, two of them arriving at relegated sides Barnsley and Yeovil.
Redfearn said: “You look at the first half and we had a great start and looked quite bright and took our goal well. And then, for whatever reason, we took our foot off the pedal and did not defend properly.
“You cannot come to places like Ipswich and defend like we did.”
On whether he issued some strong words in the dressing room following the final whistle, he said: “They know how I am. I highlighted the problems we had and the lads know in no uncertain terms.
“But I think the thing is now not so much pointing things out, it is the answers we need. How are we going to solve this? We need to solve this because obviously we have been in good positions away from home, been a goal up and, for whatever reason, it has not quite happened after that.
“We have got to really think about this. It is character-building and the young lads are going to have to grow with it.”
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Chambers, Smith, Berra, Mings; Anderson (Bru 72), Skuse, Tabb (Bishop 60), S Hunt (Sammon 79); Murphy, McGoldrick. Unused substitutes: Gerken, Parr, Bajner, St Ledger.
Leeds United: Silvestri; Byram, Pearce, Cooper, Warnock; Bianchi, Cook, Mowatt; Doukara (Austin 51), Adryan (Sharp 53), Antenucci.Unused substitutes: S Taylor, Berardi, Tonge, Dawson, Del Fabro.
Referee: M Dean (Wirral).
Man of the match: Daryl Murphy.