Why Leeds must still retain sense of achievement even if promotion bid fails
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Only a matter of weeks ago, Leeds were licking their lips at the prospect of a return to the Premier League.
However, a blip in form at the just the wrong moment has left them on the verge of missing out on the play-offs, and condemned to another season in the Championship.
It would be a great shame to see Leeds miss out on promotion, particularly after all the hard work they have put in to ensure they spent the majority of the season competing among the league’s elite.
But a three match winless run has left them trailing sixth-placed Fulham by three points, and they will need to win against Norwich on Saturday to stand any chance of mounting a recovery.
Their poor form of late has caused great concern among Leeds fans, who have witnessed a remarkable transformation at the club under manager Garry Monk.
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However, fans already slating the club for missing out on promotion – a fate which has not yet been sealed – could not be more wrong. There is still a great sense of achievement that can be taken from their season.
Instead, they should be focusing on the bigger picture, and realising just how far the club have already come this season.
They are of course, entitled to be disappointed if Leeds’ promotion bid fails. But they have already defied all expectations to even be in contention, and that is surely something to be proud of.
At the start of the season, Leeds were not considered among the favourites for promotion, but Monk has done a fantastic job, and established the club as one of the most consistent sides in the division.
A hugely competitive division.
If you take into account all the issues that have flooded the club in recent years, including the whirlwind managerial turnover that has seen six full-time managers appointed by Massimo Cellino since June 2014, what Monk has been able to achieve has been remarkable.
The issue does remain for Leeds this summer in being able to keep hold of their most prized assets, with the likes of Chris Wood having been in the spotlight for much of the season.
If Premier League clubs come calling, the chances are that Leeds could lose out, triggering another vast rebuilding job at the club for Monk – if he stays.
Finishing just outside the play-offs will come with the inevitable heartache, but the Leeds players will be determined to pay it back to the fans for their endless support this season.
They won’t give up, even with the odds stacking up against them, and will be determined to pick up two wins from their final two games.
Leeds play Norwich at Elland Road on Saturday, before a clash with second-from-bottom Wigan the following weekend, and two wins could prove vital.
That does also, however, rely on either Fulham or Sheffield Wednesday dropping points in one of their final games, but anything is possible.
It would be wrong to rule Leeds out of the promotion race, so fans who have already accepted their fate could not be more wrong.