By Alton Harewood
Every coach dreams of making their home ground a bastion for the club, the place where other clubs fear to tread, where the support of 20,000+ fans becomes the twelfth man, their club's impregnable castle!
Last night, Elland Road was Brighton's bouncy castle as the visitors romped around it at will leaving the Leeds players and management bemused and often bystanders. Frankly, it was a disgrace leaving the team at a level they can only hope to step up from and showing clearly the need for both additional firepower and immediate attention to team coherence and communication.
The team selection may be criticized, for example, with Bellusci cleared to play would his experience have been a better choice than the young Liam Cooper? At any rate, on paper, playing a team that had lost two games, Leeds should have come out with all cylinders firing after the uplift of the Saturday result against Middlesbrough. Instead, its hard to say Leeds came out at all.
All night long, Leeds were chasing the ball and in fact by the end of the first half it was surprising that Brighton was only one up. Players who looked so strong on Saturday were making silly mistakes and loose passes. We won't point a finger as the whole team deserves to be dressed down for such a miserable performance.
Hockaday has his hands full if he is to get the side to gel and work fluidly on a continuous basis. He can ill afford an inconsistant season punctuated by not just defeats but defeats of such a clear magnitude of difference between Leeds and the competition.
In the first half Joao Teixeira scored almost a walk-in goal as Leeds to man stood and watched (five leeds players plus Silvestri in the box), then in the second half a clumsy tackle on the edge of the box led to a ridiculous free-kick that saw the wall rise as one just as Kazenga LuaLua rifled a low shot beneath it straight into the net of a completely non-plussed Marco Silvestri.
It rounded off a horrible night and one best forgotten by fans but one that the team and management must disect and analyse to ensure Leeds never comes out to watch the other side play like this again in what should be our mighty home ground Elland Road, our castle.