‘Too soft’ Leeds United beaten in derby game at Sheffield Wednesday

Leeds United's Samuel Saiz tackled by Sheffield Wednesday's David Jones. Picture Tony Johnson.

Leeds United were handed another lesson after suffering a hugely disappointing Yorkshire derby defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.

The Whites have now suffered back to back defeats and have lost their last three away games in the Sky Bet Championship after demonstrating a lack of fight at crucial times.

Thomas Christiansen’s men started well and were unlucky not to be ahead early on, but once Wednesday went ahead the reaction was poor and the margin could have been bigger with the hosts hitting the woodwork twice and having a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside.

Leeds also hit the post as they threatened a comeback at the start of the second half, but there was no getting away from the fact this was a worrying performance that says their long term chances of promotion do not look good.

They were up against a home team under pressure after they had suffered back to back defeats, including one on the Sheffield derby.

Wednesday looked short of confidence at the start and United could have been ahead in the third minute when Samuel Saiz picked out Kalvin Phillips in the box, but the midfielder headed wide.

Saiz hit a shot from range well over, but then produced a brilliant run from his own half, beating four men before finding Ezgjan Alioski in the box only for the winger to head a great chance wide.

It was all Leeds and Kemar Roofe got in behind the home defence only to see an offside flag wrongly produced as his effort was being well saved anyway at close range by Joe Wildsmith.

But Wednesday crept into the game and Adam Reach’s 25-yard shot was beaten away by visiting keeper Felix Wiedwald.

It was still a surprise when the home team took the lead on 25 minutes as Tom Lees headed on a free-kick and with Wiedwald and his defenders slow to react Gary Hooper nipped in for his usual goal against Leeds.

However, the rest of the half was all Wednesday and they were unlucky when Kieran Lee ran through from midfield onto Barry Bannan’s pass and put the ball in the net only to be incorrectly flagged offside.

Hooper found himself free in the box, but Matthew Pennington got across to block his shot.

With the Leeds back line all over the place Steven Fletcher was the next player to find himself free in the box, but he headed Ross Wallace’s cross wide.

A second goal did come when Hooper headed in at the far post after being left unmarked to meet Fletcher’s head across the box.

Leeds finally managed another effort at the end of the half as Pierre-Michel Lasogga got his head to a free-kick, but it was going wide before Wildsmith saved.

United started the second half well with Roofe getting in between defenders and the home keeper only to be unable to get much contact on the ball as Wildsmith raced out to challenge.

Lasogga was then left in space in the box after a misjudgement by the Owls defence and was unlucky to see his low shot come back off the post.

With that went their last real hope of a comeback, however, and Wednesday went close again when Hooper back flicked a volley just wide despite being offside and the flag this time not coming.

Bannan’s chip went just wide and Hooper got in behind the Leeds defence, but was denied by a good save from Wiedwald.

Pontus Jansson saw a header cleared off the line by Lee and Saiz send a curling shot inches wide as United briefly threatened again.

But they suffered a blow soon after when Phillips clattered into team-mate Jansson and the latter had to be carried off. Phillips also had to receive treatment and played on in the closing stages despite limping, with all three substitutes having been used.

They still created another opportunity with Saiz racing onto Pablo Hernandez’s pass only to try to beat the keeper at his near post and Wildsmith coming up with the save.

Wednesday still looked dangerous with Wallace’s 30-yard shot being tipped away by Wiedwald and Bannan seeing a shot from the edge of the box hit the post.

Leeds did not heed the warnings and Lee latched onto Eunan O’Kane’s poor pass out of defence to hit an unstoppable shot into the net to make it 3-0.

There was still time for Hooper to get clear again, but his shot hit the crossbar.

Leeds boss Christiansen admitted there were lessons for his team to learn.

He said: “We started well and had good opportunities, knew had to stop them and were doing what we had worked on, but after the goal the team went down.

“We were too passive and too soft and if we want to compete in this league we need to be more aggressive.

“We have conceded too many goals because we’re not strong enough and we’re not competing well enough.”

Sheffield Wednesday 3

(Hooper 25, 41, Lee 82)

Leeds United 0

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sky Bet Championship

Attendance: 27,972

Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Hunt (Palmer 39), Lees, Van Aken, Reach, Wallace, Jones, Bannan (Butterfield 86), Lee, Fletcher (Rhodes 90), Hooper.

Leeds: Wiedwald, Ayling, Pennington, Jansson (Dallas 70), Berardi, Alioski (Sacko 62), Phillips, O’Kane, Saiz, Roofe (Hernandez 62), Lasogga.

Referee: Andrew Madeley.

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