We All Love Leeds writer Keir Taylor takes a look at the recent changes at Middlesbrough and poses the question "who decided that?".
The title… good, eh? Anyway, let’s get on with it.
So, 3-0 to Middlesboro. We should’ve lost anyway, realistically. Best side in the league going up against an arguably out of form Leeds United. But 3-0? Ach, come on.
Anyway, I’ll focus on the manner of the loss.
Bellusci for Cooper was obviously a key change that was spoken about all week. Why did Rosler do that? Cooper is probably our most in-form defender so far this season, albeit some great spots from Bamba… But Bellusci? Meh.
A poor display throughout this game from Bellusci. A mixture of Taylor being taken care of by Stuani, and then Bellusci just being, well... shite.
The first goal was to due to his poor excuse at an attempt of a headed clearance from a Stuani cross to Nugent. He may as well not have bothered with it. Feet rooted to the spot, and just angling his head slightly to the right – laughably terrible.
The second goal was just as agonisingly hysterical. Diving header from Bellusci to the back of his own net. At least he got his head to it this time… I’ll give it to him though, if that was in the opposite goal, that would’ve been a fantastic goal, but, it wasn’t. So it was horrendous defending – and not for the first time.
The last game I can remember Bellusci having a good game was last season against Bournemouth, and that was only because he scored that belter of a free kick, really.
The third goal, I admit, had nothing to do with Bellusci. This time it was Bamba. Aye, he made a whoopsie too. Pass from Silvestri, Bamba attempts to clear… slip. I won’t blame this one on Bellusci, I’ll blame Steven Gerrard’s influence on the English game. What a fiend.
The chances we had weren’t bad. A disallowed goal – which was definitely a goal. The cross from Botaka to a salmon-like Antenucci meeting the cross with a strong header straight in to the arms of the keeper. To be fair to Antenucci, he isn’t an aerial player – this is where we needed Wood.
Ultimately good signs in terms of our attacking, it’s just a shame our defending let us down.
Up until the 70th/80th minute, I thought a draw was fair, really. We made the chances, and the midfield was good enough… But it was that slip from Bamba that changed my mind. We can make a few small mistakes and get away with it, but we can’t earn points of poor displays. Ideally, if the linesman had eyes & if Wood wasn’t injured, I reckon it could’ve been 2-2, from the chances we had. But Bamba… ugh.
Anyway, now, it’s time for Rosler’s post-match interview with Phil Hay. Was it cryptic, or was it not?
“Sometimes I can’t tell you everything. I didn’t plan on making five changes.” – Uwe Rosler to Phil Hay.
You could argue that it isn’t, and that he can’t tell us everything. Fair enough. He’s well in his right to keep his squad to himself… But why is this the first time doing it?
I personally have no evidence to back up the claims from social media that Cellino interfered with the team selection, but all you can do is look at previous events. A good example is Cellino ringing up Hockaday telling him to take Warnock off, or Doukara constantly being given a chance this season and last season - they aren’t strong claims. But, if you think about it logically, a man that chooses his own signings without telling anybody, then spending money on them, would he really let them go to waste? Or would he force them in the team so that he looks like a football scouting god if they come off?
To be fair, if this possible attitude, or this whole idea is a surprise to you, you may need to look at the past events across the whole of his tenure at Leeds United.
Answering my own question from earlier, why did Rosler do that? Because he and his assistant aren’t the only ones that are having an input in the squad… probably.
Anyway, you can throw in the comment section that I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist’ all you like. If you don’t have a look back at the events of the past year or so, and see the power Cellino really has over everyone at the club, I’m not bothered about a narrow minded opinion. It’s all there, staring you in the face.
Hopefully, Rosler can pick his own side against Birmingham. *winky face*.
By Keir Taylor