By James Dielhenn
Tuesday 18th September 2012
Elland Road, Att: 19,750
Leeds 2 - 3 Hull
Becchio 7' (pen) Elmohamady 23'
Gray 90' Faye 29'
Team: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, White, Byram, Austin, Tonge, Varney, Diouf, Becchio
Subs: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Pugh, Brown, Thompson, Poleon (on for Becchio 61), Gray (on for Varney 83)
We worried that Leeds' lack of squad depth would trouble them, and unfortunately it was part of their undoing against Hull. It is deeply concerning that Hull (by no means one of the promotion favourites in the Championship) can turn up at Elland Road and thoroughly out-play the home side. It seems to have been accepted that Neil Warnock's side possess very little flair or creativity, so it is extra important that they defend well. Tonight the goals conceded were "Sunday league" according to Warnock.
Paddy Kenny had no chance with any of the goals. He made a couple of routine catches but was let down by his defence tonight. 6
Lee Peltier was probably the least culpable of the back four. He was decent at right-back, although was guilty of neglecting the defence for Hull's counter-attacking third goal. He also needs to improve his composure in possession in the final third. 6
Tom Lees struggled in a performance that was scarily similar to last season. He was regularly pulled out of position and was just as guilty as anyone. 5
Jason Pearce, a colossus at the back since his arrival this summer, had his first below-par game. Pearce should have just cleared the ball for the first conceded goal but dithered. The other two goals were scored from positions that he usually occupies. Pearce will need to put his display behind him. 5
Aidy White must be a serious worry for the manager. The left-back has had a terrible start to the season and it continued here. He was an absolute liability defensively. The first goal was his error, and he carried on the theme of awkward defending for the rest of the night. He has returned after a summer of speculation about his future with a newly improved contract but his form does not match. 4
Michael Tonge, due to his lack of fitness, was the deepest lying central midfielder. He had a particularly poor game and was never able to get his foot on the ball and pass it. He gave away possession cheaply for one of the goals. He was pre-judged by fans as a desperate, cheap signing and his performances have concurred with that theory so far. 5
Rodolph Austin remains a vitally important player. Tonight wasn't his best night but he still chased and harried until the final whistle. 6
Sam Byram's presence on the right wing underlines Leeds' lack of options. The poor lad is an exciting young prospect but already finds himself out of position (he's a right-back) to plug a hole. He showed more promise tonight and pumped up the crowd with a crunching tackle on Faye. But the sad truth is that he doesn't have the attacking qualities to pose the opposition trouble from the right wing. 6
Luke Varney, on the left, is a serious concern. He struggled to find the ball, and when it came to him, he never did anything productive with it. He puts in a shift but that isn't enough - Warnock needs him to cause problems down the left but his presence in the team is a problem for his own team-mates at the moment. He's had an appalling start to his Leeds career and was booed by certain sections of the home fans tonight. 4
El-Hadji Diouf was probably Leeds' best player. He played in a free role behind the striker and, particularly in the first half, his movement and dribbling caused concern amongst the visitors. His burst into the box resulted in the early penalty, and his set-piece delivered assisted the second goal. An impressive display, but one creative player isn't enough. 7
Luciano Becchio was up-front and put in a reasonable shift. He took responsibility to score the penalty despite that not being part of his usual game. Becchio did what he could to create space but had no service at all. His injury in the second half saw him subbed as a precaution. 6
One positive was the impact of the two subs, Dominic Poleon and Andy Gray. Poleon got half an hour and immediately excited the crowd with some positive running. His impressive cameo could put him in contention to start at the weekend. Gray, for his part, scored a late consolation with a thumping header from a set-piece.
Warnock has already said it's unlikely that new players with arrive before the weekend. So he'll need his best motivational skills before the same XI take to the pitch again.
Neil Warnock post match:
"We started well and we should have been two or three goals up but the goals we conceded were so naïve, so green behind the ears.
“I’m concerned because the goals we’ve conceded in the last few games have been terrible.”
“It’s not good news about Ross and he’s looking at six to eight weeks. He might need an operation on Friday because he’s got a little chipped bone alongside the ligaments. It’s as bad as you can get from a twisted ankle without breaking it."
“People are asking am I going to be on the phone trying to replace him today? But I might as well go fishing. I’ve phoned everybody in the last few days and I’m not even close to being warm.
“All my targets have all gone to other clubs in the Championship and quite rightly. There aren’t many players out there now. I’ve been offered a couple from Premier League clubs but they’re not players I want."
“We’ve got a good team here – we just haven’t got a good squad.”