Leeds United may not have had the desired result against Millwall at the weekend, but to say that there were no positives at all from the game and it was the ‘same old Leeds’ would be unfair, something manager Dave Hockaday addressed after the match.
‘’From last season we wanted to change the philosophy at the club and get the players comfortable on the ball,’’ Hockaday reflected after the game.
‘’Having said that, if you get a number of passes and then they start to press then that’s when you get through them, over them, around them – but you get behind them with quality. We didn’t do that. We kept passing for passing’s sake, inviting more and more pressure.’’
Okay, perhaps the quality wasn’t there on the day, but the three areas where Leeds United did improve on last season’s overall tally - possession, passes and pass accuracy - should give supporters hope that the identity of the club will eventually change from that under Brian McDermott.
Leeds United were branded as a side that often looked for the easy, direct route rather than working the opposition and creating clear-cut chances.
The Yorkshire side had a negative possession statistic overall last season – 48.9% - which was reflected by their overall pass accuracy of 72.4% and their low passing statistic overall of 11,626 – over 6,000 less than the largest in the league, Brighton.
Although the clear-cut chances didn’t come and Leeds left London with their tail between their legs, that’s not to say that what they attempted to do in the game was incorrect.
Last season’s overall possession statistic of 48.9% was comfortably bettered against Millwall with an impressive 55% of the ball – the seventh highest in the division on the day.
This was shown in both their pass accuracy of 75% and the number of passes attempted by Leeds which was 500 - a tally which if struck constantly over the course of the season would give them an overall attempted pass statistic of 23,000 – comfortably more than anyone else in the league based on last season.
Leeds, who are determined to add quality before the transfer window shuts, could potentially become a storming success if they keep the system and style they had against Millwall, as the extra bit of quality in the final third could make all the difference.
Will Dave Hockaday prove to be a success at Leeds United?