Daniel Farke 'struggling to be annoyed' as Leeds United blow chance of safe passage into FA Cup fifth round with 1-1 draw against Plymouth Argyle

Daniel Farke admitted he was "struggling to be annoyed" after Leeds United failed to book their place in the FA Cup fifth round at home to Plymouth Argyle.

They ought to have, because for an hour they were comfortably the better team but only had Jaidon Athony's wonderful solo goal to show for it.

A side with six changes was unable to keep its foot on the gas, and Adam Randell was able to secure a 1-1 draw which means Leeds must now go to Plymouth twice in February – as well as Bristol and Swansea.

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But the reason Farke was not angry was because he felt his team had played so well, Anthony and Willy Gnonto both hitting the woodwork in the same move at 0-0, two of 18 shots for the home team.

NOT ANGRY: Leeds United manager Daniel Farke was pleased with his team's performanceNOT ANGRY: Leeds United manager Daniel Farke was pleased with his team's performance
NOT ANGRY: Leeds United manager Daniel Farke was pleased with his team's performance

"Leeds United, we never go the easy way," was how Farke opened his post-match press conference, no doubt echoing the thoughts of many a supporter.

"We wanted to go into the next round, we are not, so the first reaction is we are definitely disappointed with it.

"To be honest I'm struggling to be annoyed performance-wise because we were so dominant, we had a good energy on the pitch on against the ball, with the ball, in a dominant first half.

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"But we played a good side and the problem today was we didn't kill the game with the second goal. In the first half, at the beginning of the second half and even after the equaliser we had chances to win the game and it's football.

"For us it was the third game within six days, we had to do without several key players, they had a whole week to prepare for this big game, played with their best possible starting line-up (something ineligible midfielders Darko Gyabi and Adam Forshaw might dispute) and it's a good side so it's quite normal that over the course of 90 minutes a good Plymouth side with many players who played with confidence – (Morgan) Whitaker had 15 goals in the league – that they can create one or two chances in the game.

"They were able out of their two chances (which were on target) to scored one goal, we sadly scored out of our 10, 12 chances (they had eight on target) also just one goal so you have to say congratulations to their effectiveness.

"In football it's always about effectiveness.

"We could have done without the replay but I definitely prefer this draw to lose the game because we still have a chance to go into the next round.

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"I'm struggling to criticse too much apart from we were not clinical enough to use our dominance and our chances to finish the game.

"One moment just before the equaliser we had a great chance (for Gnonto) to score the second goal) and then we were a bit too greedy to go counter-pressing deep in their half, they had the counter-attack and they were spot on.

"It's football and today we are a bit disappointed but we still have the chance in a couple of weeks to progress."

The replay will be on the first midweek of February, which is shaping up to be another busy month, particularly if Leeds progress and reach round five, which is at the end of it.

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Amongst the expected absentees, Leeds were also missing the injured Crysencio Summerville, leaving them with only seven spare outfield players to fill a nine-man bench.

Short benches are not unusual during a transfer window, but Farke was not playing politics with his board having yet to make a signing this month.

"Archie Gray was out, Daniel James was out, Cree Summerville felt a few problems in the last session yesterday with his adductor so the group is not too big," said Farke.

"All outfield players who were available were in the group today so we had one (spare) spot as well and we decided to go for a third goalkeeper (Harry Christy) because you never know, sometimes there is an injury during the warm-up.

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"To be honest, if you have one or two games when you have such a situation it's not a big problem, it would just be a problem if going forward we were a bit too tight in numbers (for a prolonged period).

"It was just due to the load during this week, three games within six days and these minor injuries we also have. Hopefully the situation has improved when we faced Bristol.

Expanding on Summerville's issue, Farke explained: "He's had problems with his hip flexor and his quad, his adductors more or less all season when there's lots of load. After he felt something yesterday we decided not to take any risk in this game.

"I don't think he could have played if it was a league game anyway, it was really just not possible, but we hope in two or three days it will be sorted and hopefully he's also available for the trip to Bristol."

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Leeds are at Ashton Gate for a televised Championship game against Bristol City on Friday.

The FA Cup fifth round draw is before Sunday's Watford v Southampton tie. Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday, who face a replay at Coventry City, are Yorkshire's only representatives after Sheffield United were knocked out by Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

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