Leeds United v Queens Park Rangers: Difficult conversations to be had, says Paul Heckingbottom

Leeds United's manager Paul Heckingbottom says he is 'clear in my mind about what needs to happen' at the club this summer.
Leeds United's manager Paul Heckingbottom says he is 'clear in my mind about what needs to happen' at the club this summer.
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A SEASON that began so promisingly for Leeds United only to implode horribly finally draws its last breath tomorrow and few in the city will mourn its passing.

Even though the final-day visit of Queens Park Rangers is expected to draw a crowd in the region of 30,000 enthusiasm levels among supporters are at their lowest for some time.

United’s total collapse in form, together with PR own goals such as the new badge fiasco and the upcoming tour of Myanmar, have led to a huge sense of disillusionment in the Elland Road stands.

A home win, therefore, would be most timely for not only the club, but also under-pressure head coach Paul Heckingbottom.

“Results will always dictate that,” said the United chief, whose future has been a subject of speculation since last month’s 3-1 defeat at Preston North End.

“I am a big believer in that. That is the end product. If you are the owner of the club, the CEO, the manager, you are only good at your job if the team is winning because that is what is seen.”

There will be difficult conversations to be had, honest conversations. But it needs to be done because I am really clear in my mind about what needs to happen.

Paul Heckingbottom

An indication of just how badly awry this season has gone comes with a study of United’s form since Boxing Day.

Twenty one games have yielded a paltry 15 points, the joint lowest tally in the Championship alongside Sunderland. Even then the Wearside club just pip Leeds on goals scored due to the goal difference of both clubs during this period standing at minus 17.

It is a damning indictment on a group of players who, with only a couple of exceptions, have given every indication in recent weeks of having downed tools.

This collapse is a far cry from the days of August and September when an unbeaten seven-game start to the campaign saw United sitting proudly on top of the Championship. It is also why supporters are calling for a major clearout at Elland Road this summer.

Heckingbottom added: “There will be difficult conversations to be had, honest conversations.

“But it needs to be done because I am really clear in my mind about what needs to happen.

“It is not about apportioning blame, no chance.

“But it is about looking at where we are, what needs to be done and what is the end product. What is the club going to be like going forward?

“This is probably the most important time for me, probably defining what I do here.

“I want this to be the start of a change for the club in terms of putting really good markers down and processes in place that will help the club develop over the coming years.”