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Leeds United driven to frustration as wheels come off in Wacky Races – Graham Smyth’s Verdict



Every manager faces an occupational risk when taking over a club like Leeds, but it’s more dangerous for one who drives while distracted. The ‘500,000 managers’ he alluded to during Friday’s pre-Blackburn Rovers press conference were more than happy to leave him to it and take in the scenery while Leeds embarked on that thrilling January to March journey. Each manager had their own ideas on tactics, substitutions, and other matters. Furthermore, why not? Things were great for a very long time. For an emotionally charged club like this one, it was as near to cruise control as it could get.

Leeds needed to beat Blackburn in order to get back on track and allay mounting concerns within the club, following defeat at Coventry City and an equally painful goalless draw at home against Sunderland on Tuesday night. Despite the focus being solely on Farke’s driving, the Whites encountered a roadblock resembling a Rovers vehicle rather than a speed bump.

Less than twenty-four hours prior to the match, a content and beaming Farke was reciting the Leeds team’s successes and the honors he had collected along the way. It’s hard to argue with facts. But one of those was an undefeated home run, and with it gone, the way it went, and the impossible-to-worse timing, there was always going to be further questioning of Farke’s directionality.

Although his team performed better than they did on Tuesday night, at least in terms of posing a threat, the outcome was a complete failure, since everyone’s route to automatic promotion was running out.

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With a great start, they demonstrated the anticipated urgency. In his initial playmaking moments, Georginio Rutter appeared sharp, and Blackburn appeared concerned about Crysencio Summerville and Willy Gnonto. There were not many complaints when the team announced the news at 11.30 am, with the Italian being one of three sets of new legs into the starting lineup. Gnonto and Summerville tested Rovers goalkeeper Aynsley Pears first, with Gnonto scoring from the rebound after Summerville’s sharp angle free kick.

However, following that, there was no onslaught, and Leeds’ early offensive momentum halted despite the fact that only one team truly attempted to attack. Tuesday night at Elland Road, Blackburn manager John Eustace observed the moments when the home crowd’s enthusiasm increased and decreased. The entire range of things Rovers could do to sap Leeds’s energy both on and off the field was part of the game plan. Their defensive play and time wastage, which started within the first ten minutes, upset both the supporters and Farke’s forwards. By the time the first half ended, including its somewhat scandalous one-minute extension, Blackburn could legitimately claim that their opportunity with Sammie Szmodics was the greatest of the lot. Summerville attempted a sideways pass, but it was overcooked and intercepted, forcing Illan Meslier to make a brilliant diving stop to keep the opposition player at bay.

While Elland Road honored the retiring Stuart Dallas, the halftime break did little to restore the emotional climate of the stadium to anything like normal. Still, it served as a diversion from the emotions that had been building during the first half.

Even after the interval, Leeds continued to dominate, but the anxiety only grew. With scrambles at both ends, the game had a slightly more frantic feel to it. The Blackburn box saw Ilia Gruev’s tempting free-kick bounce, but nobody was able to take advantage of it. Szmodics hammered the ball into the area, forcing Connor Roberts to make a big goalmouth challenge.

Elland Road was slowly going mad with fury as Farke sent on substitutes, Pears handled everything they threw at him (which wasn’t a big deal), and Blackburn kept up the pressure and the clock. Then it took place. Blackburn won 1-0 thanks to a goal kick, header, an incredibly clever through play, and a superb finish. Naturally, Szmodics scored, giving Leeds eight minutes to find a winner and an equalizer. However, they were unable to score even the first goal.

An excessive number of Farke’s opponents are in a slump, exerting excessive effort or lacking self-assurance. There are far too many cut corners that lead nowhere. There are far too many crosses flying around without a finishing touch. There are far too many over- or under-hit passes. We have spent much too much time in enemy territory and achieved very little. all at the most inconvenient time. Thus, Farke will be spending his time developing attacks here for the next week.

Leeds is still in the running for automatic promotion after Middlesbrough holds Ipswich and Leicester loses at Plymouth. However, the Championship is now Wacky Races, and wheels are falling off all over the shop as the finish line approaches.

When he signed on, Farke was aware that this was going to be an intense club that might spiral out of control and take you in unexpected directions. The atmosphere and tension here will push his ability to stay on course to the test. He has been to the destination twice, so he knows where it is, but he has never had to negotiate a finishing straight quite like this one. It’s time to buckle up, close your eyes, and pray the driver knows where he’s going, unless you’re Farke. Are we getting close yet?



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