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Leeds Live
William Jackson

Sam Allardyce lays out his Leeds United defensive blueprint to halt record-breaking slide

Sam Allardyce could do little about it as he watched Leeds United’s Premier League capitulation from afar. The problems were obvious to him, though, and after picking up the phone and accepting the Whites’ plea for help, he believes he has what it takes to turn the club around, despite time working against him.

April was meant to be the month that Leeds picked up the points they needed to make sure of their spot in the top flight for another season. It was never going to be easy but the fixtures they had provided opportunities for Javi Gracia’s side to get the job done and ease the pressure around Elland Road.

As it was, Leeds shipped a total of 23 goals throughout the calendar month, an unwanted Premier League record, and picked up four points from seven games. It’s a run of results that has left the club on the brink, staring down the barrel of relegation with just four games remaining.

Read more: Sam Allardyce's Patrick Bamford expectations as Leeds United chief pinpoints key role

Allardyce knows the odds are stacked against him over the next month, particularly given Leeds go to league leaders Manchester City for their next fixture, but he’s wasted no time getting to work on the one major issue he sees: the backline.

"Breeding a bit more confidence and setting a pattern of play to say this is the way to stop the opposition,” he said when asked how he felt he could improve the club’s defensive issues during his first press conference. “If you can do that, you can get more possession, so you can get more opportunities to attack the opposition.

"You get two benefits. The first benefit is to stop the goals going in, and the second is you might get more opportunities to score more goals."

Allardyce added: “They are comfortable in possession, seem to be able to handle the ball in attack, but in recent weeks probably one of the worst defensive records in the Premier League over the past 10 games.

"My call to those players is to be able to be more adaptable. Maybe that was not the previous manager's way of working, who knows, maybe he had one way of playing, and only wanted to play that way.”

When asked how he intended to achieve such defensive results, the former Bolton Wanders, West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers boss continued: “Showing them, being brave enough to put it in front of them and this is how you put it right.

“We have to talk about that visually and then do it on the training ground without forgetting what they do when they’ve got possession. They have to be better out of possession on Saturday then they will have to be in possession because they won’t be in possession as much against Manchester City, that’s a fact.

“We have to be the best we can possibly be out of possession which will actually give us a chance of gaining more possession than we would do normally and attack Manchester City.”


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