Leeds United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 4: All defiance gone as Whites limp out of Premier League without a whimper

When things are going badly at Elland Road, Leeds United fans are usually nothing if not defiant.

In the last couple of seasons – never mind decades – there have been plenty of scarf-twirling, full-throated demonstrations of loyalty.

When relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on Sunday, there was only anger left.

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A fanbase has been let down badly by owners who managed to stumble upon a special alchemy and turn it into something so feebly pathetic in two years.

Staying up would not have avoided the need for a complete reset, but it would have given Leeds a lot more money to do it with.

In their 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds looked like the confidence that had been dripping out since collapsing at home to Crystal Palace had run completely dry.

The only surprise about their seventh defeat in a nine-match winless streak to end their season was that they scored. Even that only underlined their mental weakness, conceding within two minutes of Jack Harrison's goal, as they had within two of each half kicking off.

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"He showed more fight than you," sang the home fans when the Leeds defences were breached yet again – on this occasion by a hard-to-pin-down pitch invader.

DESPAIR: A Leeds United fan watches her team suffer relegation from the Premier LeagueDESPAIR: A Leeds United fan watches her team suffer relegation from the Premier League
DESPAIR: A Leeds United fan watches her team suffer relegation from the Premier League

Whites fans are not asking for the earth, just another team playing football they can be proud of. It was only two years ago they were ninth in the Premier League but even a Championship team with a bit of gusto would be an upgrade now.

As soon as the eerie silence which greeted Harry Kane’s opening goal was broken, it was with chants of "Marcelo Bielsa", the coach who led them back to the Premier League.

His name echoed around again at full-time, between angry boos towards the players.

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Nostalgia hung heavy in the air during the first 20 minutes but they were not singing the names of the greats of the 1960s and 70s, nor the title-winning team of 1992.

CONFIRMATION: Leeds United players show their dejection at full-timeCONFIRMATION: Leeds United players show their dejection at full-time
CONFIRMATION: Leeds United players show their dejection at full-time

Jermaine Beckford's name got an airing but by and large it was players from the last time Leeds were in the second tier – Gaetano Berardi, Mateusz Klich, Pablo Hernandez and Pontus Jansson.

Bielsa's side was positive and exciting. In a must-win game, Sam Allardyce’s team had six defenders and struggled to pass from A to B, control the ball at times, follow markers, or trouble Fraser Forster.

Spurs are in a malaise too – they missed qualification even for the Europa Conference League – and allowed Leeds 19 shots yet only two were on target.

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When the first was saved, from Max Wober, Leeds could not even play a short corner. As Spurs broke, the home fans began singing "That's why we're going down."

GOAL: Harry Kane makes it 3-1 to Tottenham HotspurGOAL: Harry Kane makes it 3-1 to Tottenham Hotspur
GOAL: Harry Kane makes it 3-1 to Tottenham Hotspur

When Spurs dismantled them tactically in February 2021 it was clear they needed to move on from Bielsa but they have made a complete hash of it. The blame lies mainly with directors scattered here and there, some in West Yorkshire, chairman Andrea Radrizzani often in Italy, where he was presumably hiding, and some in San Francisco.

Chief executive Angus Kinnear's programme notes were conspicuous by their absence but at least he showed up, the only board member who put his head above the parapet.

As Spurs scored their second, Radrizzani was told to sell up. The anger had been building since Leeds trailed inside two minutes.

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Even with a flat back five, Pedro Porro was still able to glide in front of Pascal Struijk and between him and Wober as if the full-back had not noticed. The ball was squared to Son Heung-min, then Kane.

They should have levelled when Robin Koch was in space six yards out but his diving header was wide.

Adam Forshaw had a drive deflected wide, Weston McKennie missed a shot and Koch headed another off target but every time Spurs counter-attacked, you felt they would score. They did as soon as a second half Leeds were sent out very early for began, Kane helping the ball around Liam Cooper for Porro, again in vast space, to drill in.

"You're not fit to wear the shirt," chanted the Leeds fans.

Weston McKennie and Struijk were booed off in a triple substitution which saw Georginio Rutter given a rapturous welcome having been thrown under the bus by his manager the previous week.

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But when Harrison drilled a 68th-minute shot into the net, Spurs simply pounced on a poor Cooper header straight into central midfield, worked it to Porro and let him find Kane to lift the ball over Joel Robles.

In stoppage time Leeds gave Lucas Moura a leaving present of his own, allowing him to skip past Cooper, glide past Ayling and Koch and inside Rasmus Kristensen.

With Leicester City and Everton winning, a win would have meant nothing anyway but a show of fight would at least have been welcome.

Leeds United: Robles; Ayling, Kristensen, Cooper, Wober (Firpo 59), Struijk (Aaronson 59); Forshaw, Koch; McKennie (Rutter 59), Harrison (Gnonto 88); Rodrigo.

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Unused substitutes: Meslier, Mullen, Greenwood, Roca, Summerville.

Tottenham Hotspur: Forster; Emerson, D Sanchez, Lenglet, Davies; Porro (Moura 90), Skipp (Abbott 90), Bissouma (Craig 77); Son (Richarlison 77), Kane, Kulusevski (Sarr 67).

Unused substitutes: Danjuma, Tanganga, Austin, Alonso.

Referee: A Taylor (Greater Manchester).