"Whatever people think about the way we’ve played in some of our games, they shouldn’t think that any of us aren’t hurting,” he told the YEP. "I’m expecting every one of us to respond on Sunday and get a result. I’m looking at Birmingham as a game we’re going to win. That’s the mindset – on Sunday we’re going to get a result. We’ve lost a few games and we need a result, I know that and the players know that. They’ll come out fighting.”
McDermott appears fully aware of the growing despondency that has surrounded the club in recent weeks following what for many has been a disappointing set of results. After a strong and promising start to the new campaign, performances have dropped off and this has been reflected by a run of defeats and a corresponding slide down the early league table. 5 defeats from 7 matches is a stat that needs to be consigned to the history books asap if United are to have any hope of matching Michael Tonge's conviction that his team can "still make the play-offs". McDermott meanwhile is under no illusion that any more performances like the defeat at Derby and such ambition is unlikely to be fulfilled, though he believes that some performances deserved more than others.
“We could have taken a point against QPR and we could have won at Reading. Maybe we deserved more. But when you look back on Derby, you have to say that we never gave ourselves a chance. We can’t afford to be like that. If we do what we did at Derby then we’re going to have a problem but we’ve shown that we can play much better. At home, live on TV, I’d expect us to show that.”
No doubt then that the manager has delivered a very clear ultimatum to his charges. Performances and commitment must improve - starting on Sunday. No doubt he will be worried about the chronic lack of goals - and one would imagine that how to address this ongoing problem has been the focus of much of what has been discussed in training these past few days. All Leeds United supporters will be hoping that the managers resolve, commitment and message to his players will see a much improved performance against Birmingham - hopefully with a few goals, and a welcome return to winning ways. Team selection will be very interesting and fans will be looking for far more creativity and possession in the final third. We have had a lot of possession in recent games - but only in areas that the opposition are happy to allow. The manager has acknowledged this. Can he/the players deliver a solution?
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