Leeds are under-performing, Antenucci admits

LEEDS United striker Mirco Antenucci says the club are under-performing in their current league position but will click into form soon with Saturday’s game against Championship leaders Derby County looming.

Leeds United's Mirco Antenucci. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Antenucci urged Leeds to “get out of this situation” after a cruel 2-1 defeat at Blackburn Rovers last weekend left the club two points above the relegation places and facing up to a run of one win in 10 matches.

United turned in one of their strongest away performances of the season at Ewood Park but a defensive error and a late penalty – an incident which led to accusations of diving against Rovers striker Luke Varney – resulted in an eighth league defeat.

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Antenucci, who almost won Saturday’s visit to Lancashire with a late shot which struck a post with the game level at 1-1, expressed his disappointment at Leeds’ league position but said he was confident of a marked improvement after four months with the squad.

Derby come to Elland Road this weekend, seven days after moving three points clear at the top of the Championship following a spirited away win at Watford.

“We can and we must do more because the team has the potential to do so,” Antenucci told Italian media.

“On a personal level the goal is to score as many goals as possible and help the team collect more points. We have to find continuity and get ourselves out of this situation but I’m sure it will improve soon.”

A quarter of United’s league goals this season have come from Antenucci, the forward signed on a two-year deal from the Italian side Ternana in August. The 30-year-old almost notched his sixth of the term in the closing stages of Saturday’s match but was denied when his low strike crashed off the inside of a post.

Souleymane Doukara claimed United’s goal with a 33rd-minute finish against Blackburn, his seventh in all competitions, but head coach Neil Redfearn reserved praise for Brazilian playmaker Adryan after his lively contribution at Ewood Park.

Adryan laid on Doukara’s goal from a corner having earlier gone close with a shot from 20 yards.

The 20-year-old came to England on loan from Flamengo with a reputation for unfulfilled potential but Redfearn said: “He’s getting better and better because he’s getting fitter and fitter.

“He looks the part now and his touch, his awareness, his movement and his range of passing are there to be seen. He’s a tremendous talent and we’ve got utilise him and get him on the ball as much as we can.”