Playing for Leeds is not for the 'faint-hearted', says Brian Deane
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By Dan Sansom
Last Updated: 11/02/20 12:16pm
Playing for Leeds is not for the "faint-hearted" and some members of the current squad must "show some character", according to the club's former striker Brian Deane.
Despite starting the season strongly, Leeds have suffered a familiar dip in form since Christmas, having lost four of their last five Championship matches.
Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest means Marcelo Bielsa's side now trail leaders West Brom by four points and are only above third-placed Fulham on goal difference, with Forest and Tuesday's opponents Brentford within striking distance.
"You think about the lead they had in terms of points and they've been clawed back in now where they're almost level with Brentford, so psychologically that's going to be a massive blow," Deane told Sky Sports News.
"At the same time the players have to realise that the fans are behind them and it's time for some of the players to show some character now.
"[Playing for Leeds] is not for the faint-hearted. The fans want to be engaged, they want to be part of the experience all the time and it takes a certain type of character to rise to that occasion."
The pain of last season
Leeds were undone by a drop off in form in the second half of the 2018/19 season and their current campaign is in danger of going the same way after just two wins in their last 10 Championship games.
"Obviously psychologically it will get under the skin of people and the only people who can reverse that trend is the players," Deane, who scored 40 goals during two spells at the club, added.
"The football they play is fantastic, everybody says that, but I think what happens after Christmas is less about how a team plays, it's all about results. It's all about getting over that line and that's what's important now.
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"If you're a player, you have to embrace what happened last year and think 'OK, I've had the experience now' and look at it as a positive. Learn from it and just move on.
"I really do believe that when you come through those situations, you become stronger. It was a horrible learning experience for everybody involved in the club but now they have to look at it and say 'we will learn from the mistakes of last year'."
'Midfielders must help Bamford'
Leeds have failed to score in five of their last six matches in all competitions, with a reliance on top scorer Patrick Bamford to provide the goals.
New loan signing Jean-Kevin Augustin came off the bench for his first appearance on Saturday, but Deane wants some of the club's midfielders to chip in too.
"Patrick Bamford is a good player, but he sometimes gets left on his own," Deane said. "I think some of the midfield players need to take it upon themselves to get past him and offer him that kind of relief.
"It becomes very predictable and the players on the pitch have to recognise that and make decisions themselves at times. They're very good players and they have to grow into the situation.
"Leeds United are one of the biggest clubs in the country and the fans have had over 15 years where they've had to watch teams smaller than themselves play in the Premier League.
"They look at the team and the management as the ones to take them into the promised land. It's one of those things where if you get there with that club, it'll be such a fantastic experience for everybody involved."
Leeds fans 'don't panic'
Former England manager Steve McClaren has urged Leeds United fans not to "panic" over their team's recent dip in form and says their decline is natural for a team gunning for promotion.
McClaren, who has managed Championship sides in Derby, Forest and QPR, believes Leeds' performances have still been promising despite results proving otherwise
"In any league at the start of the season, if you're top two you're going to have one bad crisis spell in the season," McClaren told Sky Sports News.
"You're going to expect these runs, Leeds United have had it every season. They had it last season late on, they're having it now a little earlier, hopefully they'll be able to recover from that, and finish the season strongly.
"Performances are good, they're still playing well but they've got a couple of injuries.
"Their form will come back, don't panic!"