By George Overhill

23rd May, 2023 | 1:40pm

Leeds United baffle Micah Richards with sublime to ridiculous switches amid 'being from Leeds' relegation verdict

Micah Richards can’t get his head around his hometown club Leeds United looking “really good” for short periods and then letting themselves down with “sloppy” errors that have them staring down relegation.

After a limp 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Sunday (21 May) the Whites need help from elsewhere to have a chance of avoiding the drop on the final weekend.

The former Manchester City defender wants to be able to feel safety is still possible due to a personal connection to the city, but feels all the good work that the Whites players manage to produce is undercut by their own mistakes.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club (22 May, 1h 26m 10s) Richards said: “Being a Yorkshire lad, being from Leeds, I don’t know if it’s heart over head. After last season, it was the last day they were safe…

“There’s elements of the game of Leeds which look really good for certain amounts of time. So they’ll be really good for 30 minutes and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, they’ve got the energy’.

“Javi Gracia comes in and you think, ok, they’ve got a bit of stability, they’re sort of timing the way their pressing. I remember doing the away game at Fulham thinking, ‘Okay, I’m seeing something different here’.

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“But then they fall into the trap of being over-exposed. It’s almost like they’re trying hard, it’s not like they’re not trying.

“On one of the goals, for Declan Rice, they got through way too easy… the opposition wasn’t really there but they’re all back in a position to help each other out, but there’s a lack of organisation, someone talking.

“They’re letting themselves down with sloppy mistakes all over the pitch.”

Sad truth

There should have been plenty in this Leeds United squad to have avoided relegation some weeks ago, but their weaknesses routinely outweigh their strengths.

Manager after manager has fallen foul to an inability to keep it tight at the back, while the two-man midfield that was pervasive under Jesse Marsch and Javi Gracia regularly proved to be no shield at all.

Injuries have played their part, with Patrick Bamford’s fitness issues largely ruining another season and Rodrigo knocked out for key periods, while Tyler Adams’ lengthy absence only made the midfield less secure.

The defence has been chaotic at the best of times, and Illan Meslier’s confidence fell apart behind it, but it is hard to escape the conclusion that there was enough in attack to compensate if even the slightest stability was found further back.

The situation off the field, with change afoot at ownership level and Victor Orta steering the ship from above before being overruled and ultimately jettisoned, has provided anything but a stable backdrop for events on the pitch.

And now, onto the fourth manager of the season, it may all be too late barring a remarkable turn of events on Sunday (28 May).

So it is likely to be heart ruling the head for most of the Whites fanbase at the weekend as well, but given how events over the past couple of months have gone there will surely be a few who will struggle to even muster that.

In other Leeds United news, a veto on Andrea Radrizzani’s side has been shared by a BBC journalist with the “damaging” situation at the top of the club unresolved.