Home comforts begin to pay dividends as Leeds aim high

Robert Snodgrass
Robert Snodgrass
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ROBERT SNODGRASS insists no-one at Leeds United will go into Sunday’s televised clash with Cardiff City in downhearted mood despite losing their seven-game unbeaten run in midweek.

Nikola Zigic’s first goal of the season was enough to condemn Leeds to defeat at Birmingham City on Wednesday night, a result that meant Simon Grayson’s side missed the chance to move level on points with second-placed West Ham United.

Instead, the Yorkshire club remained fifth – a position they will be fortunate to hold on to come tomorrow when the rest of the Championship are in action.

Depending on results, Leeds could go into Sunday’s meeting with Cardiff at Elland Road sitting in mid-table. Despite that, Snodgrass is adamant that the season is shaping up well for United.

He said: “We have got into a good position, just three points off second position. There will be plenty more twists and turns, believe me.

“West Ham play Leicester on Saturday, when there are also a few more interesting games.

“So Sunday is going to be a chance to get some points on the board.

“We were disappointed to lose at Birmingham. They got the goal and then held on, which was something we knew they’d try to do once ahead.

“That is why it was disappointing to let them score so early. Birmingham are a very professional side and able to see games out.

“They are a team who can make it very difficult for the opposition. Most of their team are Premier League players or have even played higher in the Champions League.

“That can be a big difference in terms of seeing out games. Fair play to them for that. They sat back and soaked up the pressure. Plus, it didn’t really fall for us in front of goal.

“What is most frustrating is that, overall, I felt we were the better team.

“I doubt anyone has made them look as ordinary as we did at times.

“But we pick ourselves up and have three tough games. It will tell us where we are come the international break.”

United have back-to-back home games coming up with the weekend visit of Cardiff being followed by Blackpool’s trip across the Pennines on Wednesday.

With Grayson’s men having taken 13 points from their last five home games, the double-header represents a chance to kick-start another fruitful run.

Leeds’s form at Elland Road is a continuation of the last two seasons when impressive showings in front of their own fans formed the foundation for promotion being won in 2009-10 and then the claiming of a seventh-place finish last term.

In contrast, Snodgrass’s first few months at Leeds were a time when the team largely struggled on home soil – a problem that Grayson identified soon after being appointed at Christmas, 2008.

Snodgrass said: “Elland Road has become a great place for us to play football.

“I think we have shown the fans that we are improving with each home game.

“Our form at home has changed a lot in recent years. There is a lot of expectation at Elland Road and that can intimidate players.

“Leeds United fans have experienced the Champions League so getting used to the Championship and League One must have taken a bit of time.

“But, slowly and surely, the fans realised this is where the club is at and they back us all the way.

“You only had to look at the number of fans we took to Birmingham. It was a huge number for a midweek game.

“That support is magical and we need them this year if we are to achieve anything. I know they realise that, it is why they turn up in such numbers.”