DAVID Hockaday blamed individual errors and insisted Leeds United were showing definite signs of improvement, despite a 2-0 defeat to Mansfield Town last night.
Leeds suffered their first loss of pre-season after a brace from Mansfield’s Liam Hearn in the final 20 minutes took advantage of bad mistakes from Steve Morison and Zac Thompson.
Hearn struck from the penalty spot in the 70th minute after Morison’s mis-hit back-pass forced goalkeeper Marco Silvestri to bring down one of Mansfield’s four trialists, and he scored again in the closing stages after Thompson lost his footing as he chased a through ball.
The loss to a League Two side came less than three weeks before the start of the new Championship season and United’s first league game away to Millwall.
A number of new signings are likely to arrive at Elland Road before then, however, and midfielder Federico Viviani, who watched the match at Field Mill yesterday, is expected to complete his loan move from Roma later this afternoon. The 22-year-old travelled to Leeds from Italy yesterday to finalise a season-long transfer,
Hockaday, who promised to field his strongest starting line-up during this Saturday’s friendly at Chesterfield, said: “I was happy for a lot of the game.
“Mansfield set up to stop us playing and showed us respect but I couldn’t see them scoring unless we made mistakes – and we did make mistakes. We also got in some great positions and created chances that we should have been burying.
“The two goals were from individual errors and we can eradicate that. I’m not saying we ripped the seat off Mansfield but we were dominant, we were comfortable and we should have come away with 0-0 minimum.
“The thing that disappointed me is that we got into a lot of good positions but didn’t find that final pass or put the ball in the net. With better quality, that would have been a comfortable victory for us.
“I’m not saying results aren’t important because I’m a competitive man and I want to win games but there’s more to pre-season games than results. I’m seeing an improvement in our performances.”
Leeds lost striker Noel Hunt and Lewis Walters to injury in the early stages of last night’s match.
United are still to fully diagnose the damage but Hockaday said both players were likely to be missing “for a few weeks.”