Five biggest challenges now facing Leeds United

FRESH from the pathetic 2-0 loss at home to Blackburn Rovers, Lee Sobot highlights five worrying issues facing Leeds United.

Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers.
United's Massimo Cellino.
29th October 2015.
Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers. United's Massimo Cellino. 29th October 2015. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

1. The scale of the problem

Clearly the most pressing issue of all. It goes without saying that we all knew head coach Steve Evans had a difficult task in being asked to transform Leeds United’s ailing fortunes. In the aftermath of Thursday’s defeat there were some saying the task was an impossible one.

Even the most pessimistic Whites fans saw Thursday’s visit of Blackburn as a genuine game Leeds could and should win, even allowing for their atrocious recent home record.

Rovers, after all, had not enjoyed an away success from their last nine games.

But no Elland Road win in 11 games became no home victory in 12 in which time United have picked up just five points. A shocking statistic.

Evans said after the game that United were “awful” for the first 25 minutes. Most felt Leeds were awful throughout.

United looked dodgier than ever at the back, again lacking creativity in midfield and without a cutting edge upfront. A horrible combination.

With the transfer window shut until January and only loans to rely on, Evans has a big problem, with the head coach admitting himself that United need “five or six” new players to get themselves out of trouble.

2. Opposition to Massimo Cellino

Any doubts as to the feeling towards United’s owner and chairman were dispelled with the angry chanting from the Elland Road terraces in the second half, during which the game became a side-show.

Evans might not have been everyone’s cup of tea upon his appointment to succeed Uwe Rosler but he’s quickly won over the majority of fans, even if his lack of substitutions at half-time were a bit surprising.

On the eve of his 53rd birthday, Evans looked geniunely upset and basically a bit stumped in his post-match press conference.

Most fans realise this is not his mess.

Instead, chants of “Massimo, time to go”, “Sell the club, f*** off home” and “We’re Leeds United, we’ve all had enough” made it perfectly clear who fans attribute the blame to.

Celino was present in the Elland Road stands on Thursday but was said to have left early during the second half.

Football League ban or otherwise, plenty will hope he does not come back.

Upon securing the club in 2014, Cellino said he would get United out of the division in two years – a slide to League One was not what he had in mind.

3. Unwanted records

Leeds had already equalled a new club record of consecutive home games without winning when Birmingham City took a 2-0 victory from their trip to Elland Road on October 3.

The sequence became a new club record in its own right after Brighton’s victory and the run now stands at 12 games.

But a new record was set on Thursday with the fastest goal that Leeds have conceded in their 96-year history. There were just 17 seconds on the clock when Craig Conway scored Blackburn’s opener.

4. Search for new goalkeeper

Evans has said that he was hopeful of bringing in a Premier League goalkeeper but the player that Evans wants on loan is reportedly still two or three weeks short of match fitness and the head coach will revisit the situation later in November, or explore other options.

That means there is still no competition for much scrutinised and criticised No 1 Marco Silvestri though he was pretty much helpless for Thursday might’s two goals with the finger instead pointed at the hopeless defending in front of him.

5. Changes for Cardiff

Midfielder Tom Adeyemi started for the third game in a row on Thursday but the Cardiff loanee is forbidden to play against his parent club at Elland Road on Tuesday due to the terms of his transfer.

There will also be a change in defence as Sol Bamba’s booking for dissent was his fifth caution of the season meaning a one-match ban.

Unless a new centre-back comes out of the woodwork, that will mean either Giuseppe Bellusci or Scott Wootton partnering Liam Cooper in defence.

Tuesday night’s Welsh visitors will be licking their lips in anticipation.