Leeds United's dismay at surrendering two points encourages Grayson

SIMON GRAYSON believes Leeds United's disappointment at only taking one point off Leicester City yesterday is a positive indication as to how far his side have progressed in the past couple of months.

The Elland Road club slipped out of the automatic promotion places in the Championship after surrendering a two-goal lead in the final 20 minutes at the Walkers Stadium.

Leeds had been coasting towards all three points courtesy of strikes by Max Gradel and Robert Snodgrass only for Paul Gallagher's penalty to revive the Foxes, who then claimed a point late on via a wonder strike from Andy King.

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Grayson said: "It is a positive sign that we are disappointed with a point. I was delighted with the players, they showed a lot of confidence, belief and quality.

"The way we passed it around and dictated play against a team who are going to be a major force in the second half of the season shows how far we have come. Being disappointed with a draw is a pat on the back to our players.

"It shows we can succeed at this club. We also deserve credit for getting 2-0 in front against a good side. There are a lot of positives, even though we threw away a two-goal lead in the end. We limited Leicester to very few opportunities."

While disappointed with the result, Grayson admitted to being pleased with his side's display – especially as Leicester had outclassed United at Elland Road in October when marking Sven Goran Eriksson's first away game as manager with a 2-1 win.

The Leeds chief said: "Leicester gave us a hard time at Elland Road, that first half was one of our most difficult of the season. We were 2-0 down and it could have been anything at that stage.

"But we are a different team to the one that played Leicester then. Both teams will, hopefully, be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.

"Leicester will be one of the teams who can fund major transfer targets (in January). I don't think Sven would be here if he wasn't going to be able to spend money and progress. They have already done it in the loan market with (Curtis) Davis and (Roman) Bednar. They don't come in on cheap wages.

"They will have a big go at it in January and I am sure they won't be far away come the end of the season."

The game was another superb advert for the Championship with Leeds seizing control and seeming set to claim a fourth straight win in December only for the Foxes to claw their way back into the game when Kasper Schmeichel fouled Darius Vassell and referee Tony Bates awarded a penalty.

Bates's failure to show a red card to the United goalkeeper left the home fans in a crowd of 30,919, though Eriksson did have some sympathy with the official. The Swede said: "If he gets a red card and we get a penalty it is like punishing a player twice."

Grayson, meanwhile, admitted to being relieved when Schmeichel was only shown a yellow card.

He said: "It was a close call. Some referees might have sent him off. I think it was the right decision.

"Is it denying a goalscoring opportunity or just bringing them down? I don't know. What I will say is we felt he (Vassell) did go down that little bit too easily.

"We also felt Robert Snodgrass had been fouled earlier in the move on the halfway line when the ball went through.

"Right at the end, we thought we could have had a penalty as well when Darius put his hands up. We might have got that at home but not away from home."

United are back in action tomorrow when Portsmouth visit Elland Road and Grayson is looking for his side to extend an unbeaten run that now stands at 10 games.

He said: "Up until their first goal, I thought we were well and truly in charge of the game. We were dominating it and passing it round really well, I don't think Kaspar had a save to make.

"We looked like winning but, unfortunately, we made one mistake that led to the penalty and, suddenly, Leicester had the momentum. It was disappointing not to win but, before the game, we would have accepted a point."