Leeds boss compares defenders to under-performing cricketers

Elland Road

Leeds manager Neil Redfearn suggests his defence's issue is one of a poor mentality.

Leeds United boss Neil Redfearn believes his players are struggling mentally to cope with the pressure in big moments.

The side defended poorly against Wigan Athletic, making individual errors in the 2-0 defeat which cost them dearly.

Yet he maintains his team selection of Giuseppe Bellusci and Jason Pearce at the back was the right one, suggesting instead it is just a matter of failing to cope with key moments.

He compared their strong performance in training and poor match displays to cricketers he has seen. 

Redfearn told BBC Radio Leeds: "I've seen a lot of batsman go in the nets and get hundreds, and they go out there and its a different picture.

"It's about dealing with things on a Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock. It's dealing with the stage, magnitude of the game. We knew it's a big game for us today.

"You've got to do the basics well, in key areas, get good contacts, be the first one that gets there."

While he suggests it's a mentality issue, Bellusci has been error-prone since arriving at the club, and without wanting to pin the blame on him, there's a chance he may unnerve his fellow defenders.

Another argument is that the constant chopping and changing in defence, which is of course subject to recent injury to the Italian, has left Cooper and Bellusci little time to work up an effective partnership in match situations.

After the game it was telling that Redfearn refused to rule out defensive additions when quizzed about his transfer plans, insisting that there was more than one position where he felt his side needed help.

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