Embarrassed Grayson ready to wield axe as Leeds flops continue to slump

LEEDS United manager Simon Grayson enters the New Year fighting for his future.

Grayson suffered his lowest moment as Leeds manager this weekend when his side crashed to a 4-1 defeat at neighbours Barnsley.

He not only labelled the performance ‘embarrassing and shambolic’ but warned that a number of players would never play for the club again.

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Chairman Ken Bates has offered no guarantees about his future and the pressure is mounting ahead of today’s home game with Burnley.

If Leeds fail to win for a fifth consecutive game, it will leave another dent in their hopes of play-off qualification.

Since beating Millwall a month ago, they have collected just one point from a possible 12 and the limitations of their squad have been exposed by the loss of both Jonny Howson and Robert Snodgrass to injury and illness.

They are now four points adrift of the top six and were booed off the field by angry away supporters at Oakwell.

“Every manager goes through spells in their careers where it doesn’t all go well for you but I will guarantee to work extremely hard to make sure we are doing things right and proper – anything that happens after that won’t be my decision,” Grayson admitted. “I am proud to be the manager and I have had a lot of success at this football club and previously at Blackpool.

“Losing three games on the trot is not easy and the manner of the performance,” he added. “But the one thing I won’t do is shy away from the work and the responsibilities you need to be manager of this football club.

“I will do my damnedest to make sure we get successful and back on track as quickly as possible.”

Substitute Ricardo Vaz Te bagged a hat-trick in Barnsley’s weekend victory which completed a league double over Leeds who lost 2-1 at Elland Road on November 26.

Grayson refused to blame the absence of either Howson or Snodgrass for the defeat.

He is vowing to shake things up in the dressing room and yesterday completed the signing of Tottenham winger Andros Townsend on loan until the end of the season. The 20-year-old goes straight into the squad for today’s home game with Burnley.

“When you play for Leeds United you have to earn the right to play for the club and you have to make sure you give your all from the start of every game to the final whistle,” said Grayson. “Too many of the players didn’t do any of that (against Barnsley) and that is embarrassing for me – being the manager of this football club – and for our supporters, because it’s not acceptable.

“A lot of stuff is going to have to happen in the next few days with the team and individuals. We have to work extremely hard in the next 24-48 hours looking to bring new players in – which we have already primed up. Hopefully, we will get the green light to go on them.

“Maybe we will also throw in some young kids who will at least show some desire and passion, who won’t be fearful of anything.

“Any footballer can have a poor day at the office in terms of passing and giving the ball away but – unless somebody chops your legs off – it doesn’t stop you from being able to run around.

“Every single one of them players has to look at themselves in the mirror and be embarrassed by what they have done and make sure they do something about it on Monday.

“We have been through this situation a few years ago and ended up clearing a load of players out and bringing new ones in to get us where we wanted to go.

“I want to get to the Premier League with this football club and so do my staff – if one or two players are too comfortable in just earning their money and playing for Leeds United, then they have got another think coming.

“No disrespect to Barnsley, a lot of their players have played in League One and League Two, but they have put us to the sword because they showed a desire and an application to play for the football club and the shirt.

“Too many of our players haven’t. Too many have played for their own benefit and their own individual performances rather than collectively for the team and the club and that has to change. Anyone who is left out of the team on Monday won’t have one reason to question why.”

Barnsley’s victory ended a run of three straight defeats but they lost highly-rated captain Jacob Butterfield with damaged knee ligaments after a challenge from Leeds midfielder Michael Brown.

Oakwell match report and analysis: Page 3.