2-1 To the Referee as Leeds Lose at Home to Derby – by Rob Atkinson


TC: “This must stop”

It’s fair to say that, after Leeds United‘s controversial defeat at home to Derby County last night, United boss Thomas Christiansen was almost speechless with frustration and anger at some of the decisions made by match referee Simon Hooper. If anything, that’s an understatement. I’ve rarely seen a manager so upset and so clearly having to choose his words carefully. Even after his stint at the post-match press conference was done, Christiansen lingered, still speaking to the assembled reporters about two pivotal penalty decisions: “You saw the situations – didn’t you?” There was sympathy in the room, but also a sense that here was a man starting to be bowed down by the pressure that goes with the Elland Road hot seat.

On a night when former United manager Simon Grayson got the boot at Sunderland, his was a name being whispered in the West Stand corridors following a third successive home defeat for Leeds. Christiansen pronounced himself happy that an additional coach – Gianni Veo, touted as a “set piece coach” – is joining the Leeds backroom staff, though he didn’t claim to have been a party to that recruitment decision. It might be premature to say that the future is bleak for the Leeds manager, but it is at the very least uncertain; we can be sure that results need to pick up sharply in the very near future, starting at Brentford on Saturday in what Christiansen aptly describes as a “must-win game”.

Objectively, the performance of referee Hooper was poor; Derby’s penalty didn’t stand much scrutiny and, arguably, Leeds should have gone in at half time two up with a penalty of their own to add to Pierre-Michel Lasogga‘s 8th minute opener. In the event, both decisions went against United, a situation most Leeds fans will be wearily familiar with especially if they’ve been watching the Whites over the past five decades. I actually put this to Christiansen as he left the press conference – he just sighed and replied “This must stop”.

Given that one man may not be able to alter the course of so much history, though, it’s down to the players and the coaching staff to make Leeds a threatening team once again, miserly in defence and productive in attack. That’s what we got in the early part of the season, and it did seem that Leeds were back at it against Bristol – but since then, they’ve gone back into their shell when hosting Sheffield United and Derby. Poor refereeing decisions notwithstanding, Leeds must shoulder their portion of blame for the results that have befallen them.

After the Brentford match on Saturday, there’s yet another international break – the chance, perhaps, for new coach Gianni Veo to make his mark on at least United’s dead ball situations. How good it would be to follow up on a promising away showing at Bristol, with another winning performance and three points at Griffin Park. Not only good, indeed, but potentially vital, at least for Thomas Christiansen. And you can be sure nobody appreciates that more than he does. 

9 responses to “2-1 To the Referee as Leeds Lose at Home to Derby – by Rob Atkinson

  1. NickB(50yrsLU)

    Yes, I’m afraid it’s the nature of football that a manager’s only as good as his last ten games, regardless of his previous ten. The contrast is quite stark: seven losses out of ten compared with eight wins and two draws out of ten. Radrizzani’s no Cellino, but he can’t be expected to tolerate this kind of run for much longer, with all the financial and emotional investment he has put in. I can see Harry still licking his wounds and being determined to prove he’s not past it. I’d love to snap him up before anyone else does, if Christiansen cannot turn things around in November – I hope Sunderland don’t get him in the meantime. Ideally, things will change for Christiansen and he can take us to automatic promotion – because he’s a decent man and everyone seems to like him. But, if he’s lost the players’ respect, sadly he must go.


  2. Mike Durham

    I think we all know that we’ve spent 50 years playing against 14 at times Rob and I’m absolutely sick of it. I’m starting to get the feeling that we need to win by at least 3 goals to override piss-poor and blatantly one-sided officiating at nearly every turn. So,so hard to keep the faith!!


  3. Kevin michael Murphy

    Last night was another bad night for us has i am Leeds fan. All I can say at moment let hope we can will at Brentford on Saturday.


  4. Scally Lad

    Rob, I think Christiansen has lost the plot. It’s time for him to go before we drop out of the top six. When managers start their whinging complaints about officials, you know they’ve lost self-critical perspective and have chosen, instead, the losers’ boring ritual of pointing fingers and subbing. Christiansen is not the man to lead us into the playoffs. The sooner he is given the sack, the sooner we will achieve winning form.


  5. It’s the same old story, the coach carries the can regardless. However, I think it would be a bit of a stab in the back if we brought in a new coach and then spent in the January window and replaced the real culprits who quite frankly have let Christianssen down. How can a so called professional bunch of players be brilliant one minute and then appear like a bunch of amateurs the next.
    We have too many foreign players and not enough grass root, home grown, hard as nails workers who know this game. That’s not the fault of TC, that’s Orta. I like Simon Grayson, he should never have been given the boot but I doubt if he could turn this around without at least three or four good signings.
    All in all, I am sick to the stomach. Once again we have been lifted out of the hell we have been in for the last ten years, just to be dumped right back. If TC has to go then please Mr Radrizzani do it now. You put your reputation on the line when you appointed him, do the decent thing and don’t let the guy be humiliated. Whoever comes in quite frankly I don’t care anymore at the moment. One thing for sure, he better make the playoffs or he will feel the wrath of these fans


  6. Think the players have let down TC a bit and he has made a few errors with who plays in which position.
    Couldn’t believe it when I heard sky sports had made us favourites to win the league a month or so ago (thanks for that) soon as I read it I knew we would start to slip-up.
    Afraid its another case of players not being able to live-up to the expectations of LUFC. The best players can – thats why they play in the premier league. Its not just a case of being an excellent player, its having the right mentality and character. Would like to say I think TC can turn things round – but I just can’t see it. Really hope I’m wrong MOT


  7. Scally Lad

    Rob, TC really has to go. We’re as close to relegation as we are to automatic promotion, and I think we know what’s more likely at season’s end if we continue to lose over half our matches. I warned early in the season that our early matches weren’t sufficient tests of us, and the subsequent contests have shown that we have another David Hockaday in charge. TC’d comments after today’s match are delusory: “[We] proved in the second half that [we] are able to perform and win.” TC out now!!!!


  8. Bilić anyone? I really like him. A quality ex- defender who just might sort out our underperforming back four. Surely our squad would put a shift in with Slaven at the club. I don’t like the continual removal,of managers especially at Leeds but if Bilić is leaving the Hammers he could be the perfect fit. I cannot see another Prem team taking a punt on him just yet and he would have the opportunity to hopefully repeat the excellent record he had last season. With Radz running the club in a professional manner after years of comedy ownership we are a much more attractive proposition. Also didn’t Radz recruit a former West Ham exectutive to the board at the start of this season? Tenuous link maybe but you never know.


  9. Pingback: From Top Man to 32 Red – the History of Leeds Utd’s Shirt Sponsorship – by Ryan Newman | Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything

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