Neil Redfearn believes that his Leeds side put in a good performance in his first game in charge - a 3-1 loss at Cardiff City.
Redfearn led the club out for the first time as permanent head coach on Saturday, finally progressing from four spells as caretaker manager into the full-time role.
Spirits were lifted at Elland Road with the announcement of Redfearn’s appointment, with fans happy that President Massimo Cellino had rewarded the ex-Academy Director’s career with the chance to prove himself at the top level of management - especially after the disastrous reigns of Dave Hockaday and Darko Milanic this season.
The quick progression through managers has done little to improve the on-pitch situation - with the club just four points off of the relegation places - and, if Redfearn loses his first game in charge at Elland Road on Tuesday evening - a likely situation, with high-flying Charlton traveling to Yorkshire - the Whites will be cautiously peering over their shoulders at another relegation to League One.
Many will be hoping that Redfearn finally changes the fortunes of the club, whilst looking for a first win in eight games, but comments made by the coach in the aftermath of Saturday’s loss at Cardiff suggest that he is following the same path that Hockaday and Milanic attempted to walk down - with little success.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the former Barnsley and Oldham midfielder said: “I am not a real man for stats, but 53 per cent possession in a game we lost 3-1 means there is not a lot wrong.
“But there is something missing as the most important stat is Cardiff 3 Leeds 1. It is something we have got to get right; but they had 14 shots and we had 10 and they had five shots on target; we had four. There wasn’t much in it.”
A style of the Whites’ play this term has been the desire to hold onto the ball for the majority of games, creating chances through controlling possession, and it is something that Redfearn has attempted to continue following his permanent appointment.
However, both Hockaday and Milanic failed to incorporate the style during their reigns, and United’s most successful spell of the season - Redfearn’s caretaker role brought three wins from four games - saw the coach give up holding possession in favour of more direct play. Leeds’ best game of the season was the 3-1 away win at Bournemouth, in which the club had just 40% possession, with the majority of their passes being direct, quickening the route to the final third.
Whether Redfearn had to accept playing the possession style when approached by Cellino concerning the job remains to be seen, but it appears as if he is bowing to the President’s wishes - as both his predecessors did.
The style has clearly not worked for Leeds this season, and, if Redfearn wants to remain in a job longer than both Hockaday and Milanic, he should seriously consider doing things his way - with it bringing success when tested at Elland Road already this term.