An Easter weekend that promised so much ended with a crushing defeat at the hands of Wolves at home, sending Leeds out of the play-offs and into seventh place with just three games of the season remaining.
Leeds had been an ever present in the playoffs since November of last year, but this league is cut throat, and as the season moves towards its death throes, one point from a potential six just won’t cut it. Manager Garry Monk can have little room for complaint.
They travelled to high flying Newcastle United on Friday night full of confidence, but were pretty much nullified by a Newcastle side who are playing with the assurance of a side destined for a return to the Premier League. They led the game In the 5th minute of extra-time Chris Wood was unmarked in the box, and headed in a sumptuous cross from Kemar Roofe. It sent the Leeds fans up in the God’s at St James’ into raptures, and felt like the kind of goal on which a season could be decided upon.
On Easter Monday, Leeds must have felt confident that they could capitalise on the feel good ending to their trip to the North East. They hosted Wolverhampton Wanderers at Elland Road in a game that was decided by a Nouha Dicko goal on 38 minutes. Leeds looked flat in the first half before rallying in the second, but it wasn’t enough.
Garry Monk has continually stressed throughout the season how the mentality of the squad must not change—it’s been one of his favourite lines, but he has obviously seen something in the squad that has seen a change of tack.
“We’re on the hunt now. We’ve got three games to do it now and we have to play for our lives,” he told BBC Radio Leeds.
“I know 100% that this group will give everything in these next three games and if we take nine points then we give ourselves a great chance.
“We now have to change our mentality and it can be a dangerous situation for other teams because they can change their mentality to protecting a little bit.
“I have great belief in this group.”
In terms of personnel, the big question remains what becomes of the centre back pairing, Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley. Rumours of interest in Jansson from Southampton refuse to go away, and Bartley, who is still only at the club on loan from Swansea City, has attracted heavy interest from Premier League outfit Burnley. Questions over their future will be an annoyance for Monk.
The final three games of the season are against Burton away, Norwich at home, followed by a final day clash against Wigan Athletic. Wigan are in all likelihood guaranteed to be relegated by then, which could yet prove to be the difference maker.