Sam Allardyce mistake on 'enormous' Patrick Bamford moment has relegated Leeds United - Chris Sutton
Chris Sutton was “absolutely baffled” to learn that Sam Allardyce hadn’t appointed a Leeds United penalty taker, and that mistake may have already relegated them.
Patrick Bamford stepped up with the score 1-0 looking to double the lead against Newcastle on Saturday (13 May) but had his penalty saved by Nick Pope before the game eventually finished 2-2.
The Whites boss admitted he’d left the taker situation as he’d found it on arrival, to the shock of Sutton who believes the club won’t escape the drop and Bamford’s miss in that “enormous moment” is on Allardyce.
Speaking on the Monday Night Club for BBC 5 Live (16 May, 49m 30s) Sutton said: “I don’t know whether that’s a good point or not. The truth is everybody’s looking at the penalty miss, that moment in the game, it’s an enormous moment.
“I know Patrick Bamford’s had death threats after, what sort of world are we living in when stuff like that happens? I really feel for him, having played and Charlie [Adam] the same, it takes a lot to stand up and take a penalty.
“I think he missed his last one and I’ve got to say I expected Rodrigo to take it because I think he’d scored his last one, so that didn’t make any sense.
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“What I’m absolutely baffled about is Sam Allardyce saying he hadn’t designated a penalty taker, he’d left it up to them. It’s a detail like that that ultimately may cost them staying in the Premier League. I found that, a guy whose attention to detail is so precise with things, to get that wrong, that’s a big moment in their season. I think Leeds are down… so that’s not a good point.”
Adam explained a situation where he squabbled over taking a penalty and missed during his own, after which Sutton reiterated it’s the manager’s responsibility to sort the issue ahead of time.
It does seem to be the kind of thing that is bound to prove crucial in a highly-pressurised four-game stretch to save the season.
And with the confidence visibly low as Allardyce arrived, amid reports that the dressing room was split and lacking leadership, the incoming manager needed to be on top of that.
Tightening things up at the back may have been his priority, but providing a clear structure for the important elements that would or could be the difference is paramount.
In many ways you have to praise Bamford that after his struggles over the past two seasons, and especially in recent weeks, he was prepared to shoulder the burden once more.
Perhaps Rodrigo would have missed anyway but it wouldn’t have brought the kind of scrutiny onto the Spaniard that it has the Englishman.
He no doubt was desperate to make amends for the miss late on against Leicester on 25 April, but it wasn’t to be and the abuse he has subsequently received cannot be excused.
Allardyce could have saved him from that situation, and perhaps banked the points that would have one foot in next season’s Premier League already, so while his arrival has already had a positive effect in many ways that does look to be an unfortunately vital element he overlooked.
In other Leeds United news, one Elland Road star has named the toughest opponent he has faced this year and branded him “annoying”.