Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Leeds Live
Leeds Live
Beren Cross

Daniel Farke given unexpected Leeds United question as 50-day transfer temptation creeps into view

Eight days of a fifth manager in 2023

Analysis of pre-season friendlies always comes with the usual caveats. It’s summer, players are not fit, tired from training, disjointed tactically, lacking competitive motivation, often in front of lacklustre crowds and against opponents with all of the same issues.

Leeds United are in an especially difficult-to-read spot at the moment, though. Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United was only Daniel Farke’s eighth day on the job and, as he made the point himself post-match, this is the fifth different voice these players are listening to in a fraction over five months.

Cardiff City await in their opening game of the Championship season just 25 days on from the Oslo defeat and the overriding thought coming away from the game was how much work there is to get through for Farke. Nobody could have realistically expected the German to have this team singing after eight days at the helm, but his own concerns about the quantity of work ahead cannot have been eased either.

This was the pre-season muddle many of us expected it to be. Eight of Farke’s starters had 22 or fewer Leeds appearances to their name and very little time together on the field as a cohesive unit.

READ MORE: Daniel Farke addresses Leeds United relegation clauses and transfer window 'tricky situation'

This is a team which needs transfers in and out as well as a heap of tactical work before Farke can feel confident about where it is at.

Poveda turns heads

Ian Poveda has not started a competitive fixture for the Whites since the FA Cup defeat to Crawley Town in January 2021. It is fair to say the 23-year-old’s time at Elland Road has not worked out up to now.

With one year left on his contract, the expectation had been Poveda would see out the coming campaign in the same fashion as so many of his team-mates: further afield. After failing to turn the tide under Marcelo Bielsa, even time spent training with Jesse Marsch was not enough to alter his Leeds narrative.

Why would someone already so used to playing away from Leeds suddenly find themselves back in the fold when so many others are leaving? Farke has said there is a clean slate for everyone on the books and no doors will be prematurely closed on anyone.

All the former Manchester City winger can do is impress with every opportunity Farke gives him. Now, one half in a summer friendly is hardly enough to rewrite the Poveda script, but it’s something of a start.

Poveda was arguably United’s best attacking threat in a generally limited day across the roster. The diminutive forward dribbled well, looked sharp and found some urgency on the field when so many struggled for that intensity.

The smart money remains lodged on a move away, but the beginnings of a question have at least been asked by Poveda.

Fifty-day Sinisterra hope

Luis Sinisterra only returned to full training for the first time since late April last week, yet he was already considered well enough for a start and a half by Farke. The Colombian has proven several times over what kind of talent he has in his locker if he could only stay fit.

Sinisterra’s most consistent run of starts in the league last season topped out at four and that too did not come until April. Seven goals across 22 appearances in all competitions said it all for the former Feyenoord man.

Again, this was a friendly which Leeds lost without scoring, so Sinisterra was hardly laying siege to the Manchester United goal, but there were pockets of promise in Oslo. Sinisterra’s close control in tight areas, movement, intelligence and power were eye-catching and had you longing for the window to close by the end of the day.

Sinisterra is someone many had long written off as a guaranteed departure after relegation, such were his ambitions and his proven ability on the field. However, as mid-July approaches and the final 50 days of the transfer window arrive, there have been virtually no credible links with the winger.

They are sure to come and it still seems a tall order for Sinisterra to stick around in the Championship, but the longer he’s around the harder it’s going to be fighting the image of him tearing up the second tier for Leeds.

Playing out from the back

One of the most telling aspects of Farke’s early impact could be seen in United’s playing out from the back. While the opponents’ sustained pressure made it hard to see the patterns of play in attack, the insistence on the goalkeeper playing out to his centre-backs was quite apparent.

Whoever the German’s starting centre-backs end up being in the new season, there is going to be immense pressure on their first touch, passing, composure, vision, anticipation and technique. Jeremiah Mullen looked a tad shaky, but fellow under-21 regular Kris Moore was quietly impressive.

Liam Cooper is well used to playing out from the back after his years under Bielsa, but this remains a work in progress. It was difficult for the defenders to always find the passing options they needed.

Full-backs and central midfielders were not always able to get free to receive the ball and this forced errors from the centre-backs, who gave the ball away in dangerous positions at points.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.