A COMBINATION of profligate finishing from Leeds United and a brilliant display by Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis meant Neil Warnock’s first home game as manager ended in defeat, writes Richard Sutcliffe.
Ricky Lambert’s 15th minute strike settled an absorbing contest that saw United take the game to the leaders but be unable to finish off some hugely impressive approach play.
Danny Webber missed perhaps the best chance 10 minutes from time after a mistake by Frazer Richardson.
Davis, too, played his part with wonderful saves to deny Webber twice as well as Luciano Becchio.
The defeat was a seventh at home for Leeds this season and puts their own promotion hopes in some jeopardy.
Warnock conceded the play-offs were an ambitious target after replacing Simon Grayson a fortnight ago, and they remain so now with Leeds six points off the pace.
However, Warnock could not hide his delight at how his side had performed, and challenged them to replicate that 12 times over the remaining games of the season.
“You don’t always get what you deserve, I know that from experience,” Warnock said.
“It’s whetted my appetite, though. I think the players have surprised themselves if I’m honest, not just the way we played, but the style.
“Their goalkeeper could have won five man-of-the-match awards, but the finishing could have been better.
“When you’re top of the league, like Southampton, you get the rub of the green. We had a certain penalty at 0-0 when the lad (Jose Fonte) has put his hand up to block Snodgrass’s shot.
“We dominated the best side in the league for 89 minutes and that’s fantastic. That is the minimum requirement what they have done today.
“When I watch England play I could go to sleep, but I don’t want that with my teams. I want end to end, good football and an end product.
“Rickie Lambert would have had five or six if he had have played for us today.”
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