Daniel Farke promises to work harder as Leeds United's inefficiency costs them dear against Blackburn Rovers

Daniel Farke refused to blame his Leeds United players for their first defeat at Elland Road this season, and vowed to work harder with them to become more efficient at making the most of dominant performances.

Leeds went into Saturday's early kick-off looking to return to the top of the Championship against a relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers. They had three quarters of the ball and outshot their visitors 19-3.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It means that with just three games to play – four for the two teams directly above them at full-time – Leeds remain out of the automatic promotion places, whilst Blackburn opened up a six-point gap to Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town, the clubs either side of the dotted line to the relegation zone.

It was a game Leeds ought to have won but despite some frustratingly weak refereeing by James Bell and the quality of Szmodics, the first Blackburn player to score 30 goals in a season since Alan Shearer, they were to blame for the result.

"We didn't put the ball into the net," said manager Farke succinctly. "That was the reason.

"If you don't score you can't win a football game so you have to make sure you're always tidy and don't allow chances like in the last home game (against Sunderland).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
DISAPPOINTMENT: Daniel Farke urges his Leeds United players on at home to Blackburn RoversDISAPPOINTMENT: Daniel Farke urges his Leeds United players on at home to Blackburn Rovers
DISAPPOINTMENT: Daniel Farke urges his Leeds United players on at home to Blackburn Rovers

"When you have a player like Szmodics in a side like that normally don't create that much and he's scored 24 (league) goals he has a quality that we certainly didn't show today. He only needed one situation to score.

"We created so many good positions today and played so much on the front foot, more or less just in their half, close to their box.

"It the last two games it feels like 30 corners (t was actually 25) and 20 wide area free-kicks and so many balls went through the box but you also need to show quality to be efficient and put the ball into the net. If you don't show this and you don't score you are at more and more risk from minute to minute.

"We are bringing more and more attacking players onto the pitch because we are not happy with just one point and there is (often) one moment where they can score."

But Farke was taking full responsibility for the defeat.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We are all one unit and the first person I ask what can you do better is always myself," he stressed.

"It's up to me to find solutions to make sure we score.

"If 30 corner kicks are not enough to score in the last two games, I have to work with them to create 40 corner kicks in the next two games. If 20 wide area free-kicks are not enough, I have to make sure we create 30.

"If no one is on the end of the cross perhaps next time we should play without any players at the back and put them all up front.

"It's all about working in training on our efficiency and perhaps to work more and creating even more situations.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I got the feeling we created more than enough to score but if we don't I'm not the guy to point fingers at the players.

"It's not the first time in football I experienced an amazing run and great results then more difficult and challenging days with a draw or a loss.

"I would have preferred to go through this season unbeaten but I'm not naive.

"When you have 23 home games there's a day when you're not effective and the opponents uses their one chance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It doesn't take away the disappointment and frustration but I'm experienced enough to draw a line under it pretty quickly and concentrate on the topics we have to work on and put my emotions to be. I've been in several situations before."

Leeds' most dangerous attacking player was Willy Gnonto and Farke revealed he got 20 minutes more from the Italian than he was supposed to.

"I think he was excellent, especially in the first half," he said. "I was happy to be allowed by our physios and our doctors to start him. In the last games they were a bit reluctant to give green lights.

"I was told 60 minutes would be a good time but I tried to keep him on the pitch as long as possible because I got the feeling he created a lot today and I was pretty pleased to have him back.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I could also feel because he missed a couple of weeks of training that in the second half he needed to take a breath a bit more and it was a bit difficult and dangerous (to keep him on the field).

"It would have been a bigger risk of re-injury if he had played all the 90 minutes but in terms of his shape I was tempted if I'm honest and I kept him on the pitch longer than planned because it was a really good performance but sadly he also wasn't able to bring the ball decisively over the line."

Blackburn manager John Eustace was understandably delighted at the way his side bounced back from a 5-0 defeat in midweek to reach 49 points for the season.

"Everyone's just very proud of the effort," he said. “The effort the boys have put in since I came in has been outstanding.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Without the ball we had a gameplan and it was a fantastic bit of play to score the goal.

"Wednesday (a 5-0 loss at Bristol City) was a bit of a blip but no one got carried away with things.

"You don't go to Leeds and go toe to toe with Premier League-quality all over the pitch.

"It would have been nice to play better football but we're delighted to get the result."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rovers' next game is at home to Sheffield Wednesday in eight days' time, a potentially huge one for the Owls and one Eustace always felt would be massive for his side.

"It was always going to come down to the Sheffield Wednesday game. It's a huge game for us next week and we'll be prepared for it," he promised.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.