Leeds United season disruption bad for team's form after Manchester United postponed - Phil Hay
The postponement of the trip to Manchester is not what Leeds United wanted “at all” and the major disruption to their season could see form suffer, says Phil Hay.
The key clash against old rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford has been moved from this Sunday (18 September) due to concerns that there will not be enough police available to man the category A fixture when a number will be in London for the weekend helping for the Queen’s funeral policing.
But with the entire football fixture list put on hold for the weekend just gone, meaning that Monday’s scheduled meeting with Nottingham Forest was also knocked out, and the international break next up before a big gap in the winter for the World Cup, the stop-start nature will be a concern for a manager trying to maintain any form Hay feels.
Speaking on The Phil Hay Show (12 September, 6mins 20secs) he said: “It seems to me that the Premier League are going to have a job on their hands to fit these spare games in because… Leeds are going to go for a month without a fixture.
“And given that you’ve got the World Cup coming up that is the best part of a month and a half off, it’s certainly not ideal in a sporting context… but from an organisational point of view this is not what Leeds would have wanted at all.”
He later went on: “Leeds are probably less likely to suffer from congestion than a lot of other clubs because they don’t have European football but [with all the time off] I don’t think that’s conducive to a season that flows, and not necessarily conducive to good form either.”
Jesse Marsch will likely be frustrated that he has missed the next two opportunities to right the wrongs of the 5-2 defeat at Brentford last time out.
The defensive unit needed a lot of work following that game so the extra time on the training pitch will probably beneficial in that sense, but the American would want to get back out before the start of October which is what he now faces.
A World Cup shoe-horned into Qatar despite uninhabitable summer temperatures means that will break up the season in a major way anyway, and with the Old Trafford side one of the clubs which does have European football it’s likely that the next game will need to be wedged in somewhere particularly awkward later on.
There is of course nothing that coaches can do about any of the factors that have prevented games being played, and while they will be more used to this sort of thing after years of Covid-19 disruptions you’d be hard pressed to ever find one that has anything good to say about the upheaval.
If it means that Leeds United return to the field with a fitter squad and have a tactical set-up more well defined then it can have a beneficial effect.
But with so little football now before Christmas, and no doubt an avalanche of it coming thick and fast for the rest of the campaign afterwards it will be a matter of going from one extreme to the other, with neither ideal.
Whoever adapts the best will be more successful, and while the European commitments of the biggest clubs will hamper them further it will also be bigger squads who can roll with it easier.
While the Whites have recruited well – in most departments anyway – this summer they are notoriously injury plagued so that could become a big problem again late in the season.
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