Confirmed: The sacrifice made by Heckingbottom after staggering verdict on Leeds squad
Leeds United manager Paul Heckingbottom has revealed his is sacrificing the way he wants to play football after delivering the damning verdict that the squad he has inherited are not good enough.
The Whites were unable to add to their one win since Boxing Day on Wednesday as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of league leaders Wolverhampton, leaving them languishing in 13th after a bitterly disappointing campaign.
While the third goal was a well executed chip from Benik Afobe, the other two strikes came from corners, with Romain Saiss and Willy Boly both heading home after Leeds failed to deal with a ball into the box.
Speaking of his defence, Heckingbottom has staggeringly revealed that he has sacrificed implementing a man-to-man marking system instead of the zonal structure already in place because he does not have the quality of defender at his disposal.
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s something we’ve got to look at. There’s a different set-up to what I’ve done. You’ve got to give things time and I’ve got to learn about what’s been going off.
“How I’ve done it in the past has always been man-to-man marking and really black and white. ‘If your man scores it’s your fault’.
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“But you need to have good man-markers for that. You need to be strong in the box. We’re not riddled with those players and that’s what I say about the balance of the squad.
“You have to be strong with the ball, strong without the ball, strong in transition and strong at set-plays for and against. When you are, you’ll be able to compete.”
Leeds could continue to struggle at the back in coming weeks, with Liam Cooper having suffered a potentially serious injury and Pontus Jansson one yellow card away from a two match suspension.
Football Insider verdict
Heckingbottom’s admission over the quality of the first team squad at Elland Road will come as a serious surprise to many, and suggests that his arrival will not be the quick fix the fans would have hoped for. Being unable to play the style of football you want to see is never a good sign for a manager, and a major overhaul can be expected in the summer, especially in terms of the defence. Wolves dominated from set plays and took full advantage, and had it not been for Bailey Peacock-Farrell, they would have had more goals from open play too.
In other Leeds United news, Paul Heckingbottom has delivered his verdict on the outburst from Andrea Radrizzani about Wolves.