By Alex Stevens
Noel Whelan has claimed Leeds United lack ruthlessness after their ‘heartbreaking” 2-1 Championship defeat to Burton on Saturday left their play-off hopes hanging by a thread.
Garry Monk’s side slumped to a second consecutive defeat to extend a wretched run of results that now includes four losses from their last six league fixtures.
Victories for Leeds’ top-six rivals Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday mean Garry Monk’s side have fallen three points behind sixth position with just two matches of the campaign remaining.
Leeds had gone into the match against relegation strugglers Burton needing a win to keep pace with the teams seeking a place in the play-offs semi-finals.
But they went two goals down through goals from Marvin Sordell and Michael Kightly, and a late strike from Kyle Bartley proved only to be a consolation.
Former Leeds striker Whelan believes Leeds are paying the price for their lack of goal threat as he highlighted how Burton goalkeeper Stephen Bywater was given a relatively easy time.
“No chances fell for Leeds today – but they should have taken more shots, asked more questions of Bywater,” said Whelan to BBC Radio Leeds, as quoted by the BBC Leeds live match blog (Saturday, 4.59pm). “We’ve been talking about not testing the keeper enough for weeks. Pretty passing is great but there has to be an end product.
“You have to give credit to Burton, but you make your own luck. You have to be brave enough to get into the area and when you don’t, have a shot. Bywater has had so few saves to make.
“This is what’s been so heartbreaking and galling. Leeds have given themselves a chance to make it into the top six but they’ve lost momentum at the wrong time.
“They were too poor goals to concede today and the team out there should have been strong enough to compete today, to get something out of it. They didn’t show they’re ruthless enough in the final third – they should have bombarded Bywater today.”
It means seventh-placed Leeds are still stuck on 73 points from 44 league matches, three adrift of sixth-placed Fulham, who also have a superior goal difference.
Monk’s team will now have to win the final two matches of their league campaign to have any chance of securing a top-six finish while also relying on other sides to slip up.
In other Leeds United team news, the club have done the deal for an out-of-window transfer of a midfield player.