Southampton v Leeds United: Forget the form, Daniel Farke fears a Saints backlash

THE form guide makes Leeds United's early kick-off at Southampton an absolute no-brainer.

The Whites are unbeaten in six Championship games, and have scored three or more goals in three of them. They have won at Ipswich Town and Millwall, so being on enemy turf is not a concern.

Saints have lost their last four, conceding five at Sunderland, four to Leicester City. They led at winless Middlesbrough and lost 2-1. Russell Martin's men may as well not bother turning up.

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But this is the Championship, so you can leave your logic at the door.

WARNING: Daniel Farke has told Leeds United to expect a reaction from SouthamptonWARNING: Daniel Farke has told Leeds United to expect a reaction from Southampton
WARNING: Daniel Farke has told Leeds United to expect a reaction from Southampton

Some might dismissively put Daniel Farke's assessment of what Leeds will face on the south coast in the "well he would say that wouldn't he?" category and maybe they are right, but it does not make him wrong. He knows Martin, having been his Norwich City manager.

“We are in a good shape and in a good moment of the season – six games unbeaten, four clean sheets in a row, pretty impressive performances and obviously a really good result in the last game and many points in the last games (11 from a possible 15)," conceded the German, who has been stingy with his praise this season.

"But we’re also not over the moon. We know that in this league you always have to be aware that the momentum can change pretty quickly. We always have to be on it.

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"So there’s no time to be over-confident. I couldn’t think about a worse moment to play against Southampton because they have four losses in a row."

Come again? But there is logic behind his argument.

"It’s tricky at times when you have a busy schedule and you play three games in six or seven days to change things,” says Farke of Saints’ recent run. “But one thing is for sure is that at such a big club with such high ambitions and many quality players, if you have such a period and then you have a normal week (with no midweek match) and time on the training pitch, you will look under every stone and speak about every detail that has to be improved.

"I’m pretty aware they would have done exactly this.

"Then a home game against Leeds is a big opportunity. To play against us is more or less always the game of the season for all opponents but once we are in red-hot form like this you know with one game, you have the chance to win the momentum back and change your whole mood.

"Southampton will be highly motivated to do exactly this – to use this home game against an opponent with a big reputation like we are in order to win the momentum.

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"They had a really good start to the season, it’s a really good side and then it’s the Championship and sometimes you have periods when it’s tricky. But I’m 100 per cent sure their class will shine at one moment and they will be highly motivated to find their way back in terms of results because I think performance-wise they were not far away.

"We travel there in a pretty respectful mood.

"We accept this challenge and we try to be ready and try to win points even there on the road.”

This is a bigger test for Leeds than the form guide would suggest.