LEEDS United manager Neil Warnock answered critics after fans called for his sacking following another horror show from the Whites at Barnsley on Saturday.
After 5-2 and 4-1 defeats in the previous two years at Oakwell, United were turned over again and could have been beaten by more than the 2-0 final scoreline with Barnsley hitting the woodwork twice.
Many in the 4,843 strong Leeds following at the game made their feelings known on a poor performance and hit the manager with chants of “Warnock, Warnock, time to go” in the second half after two goals in three minutes from Chris Dagnall put the Tykes in charge.
Several supporters appeared to try to get at Warnock as he walked off after the game and he was left in no doubt about the anger over recent displays by the Whites.
But although he agreed Leeds were dreadful in the first half the manager came out fighting in his after match press conference.
Warnock said: “I think I am doing a great job here if I am honest.
“But you are going to get disappointments when you play like we did in the first half.
“If I thought all the fans were against me I would go, but they understand we need two or three in.
“I don’t blame the fans for being frustrated. If I was one of the 5,000 I’d have been exactly the same. They were frustrated and disappointed. I’d have joined in with them at half-time.
“There’s no excuses. We didn’t start well and we weren’t good enough in the first half. We had too many players off their game and you can’t do that at this level. We were non-existent in midfield. They should have been out of sight by half-time.
“Ironically, I thought we started the second half well and were having our best spell of the game. We created some good chances then they went in front with a penalty and scored a second soon after which killed us.”
Warnock was angry about a challenge by Stephen Dawson on Ross McCormack that went unpunished by referee Craig Pawson just before Barnsley went ahead and took TV replays into his post-match interview to emphasise his point.
He added: “When you look at the tackle it is red card.
“It’s nothing else. It’s a horrendous challenge by Dawson. I can’t understand why he hasn’t given anything and they play on and then get a penalty.
“It was a local derby and the referee let a lot of things go and there was no consistency. It wasn’t a game for a young referee. It was a leg breaking tackle. It was a disgrace.
“But that doesn’t alter the first half when we were abysmal. The three lads in midfield did not get to grips with anything and Beccs up front kept giving it away.”
Barnsley may have needed a controversial decision to help them take the lead, but they were full value for their victory as they swarmed all over Leeds from the kick-off and played the better passing football against a United side that gave the ball away “about every 20 seconds” according to Warnock.
The defence never got to grips with front two Dagnall and Marlon Harewood and they were outfought in midfield with little punch in attack apart from a few glimpses of what new loan signing Ross Barkley can do.
Luciano Becchio did send a header just wide in the early stages before Barnsley poured forward and could not believe they had not scored by half-time. Harewood and Martin Crainie both hit the woodwork, Dawson and Jim O’Brien forced saves from Paddy Kenny and Dagnall was off target with several efforts as he showed a lack of confidence having not scored a league goal all season.
United did improve after Warnock made two substitutes and changed to a 4-5-1 system for the second half with Ross McCormack brought on to play on the left flank and Paul Green in midfield.
Barkley fired a shot inches past the post after a promising run then was unlucky on 56 minutes when lashing a shot against the crossbar after getting on the end of a Becchio knock down.
But it was Barnsley who were to break the deadlock when Dagnall went sprawling over the outstretched foot of Sam Byram and picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty.
Three minutes later Dagnall outpaced Jason Pearce to get on the end of Harewood’s through ball and quick as a flash sent his angled shot past Kenny into the net.
Leeds rarely threatened a comeback with a McCormack shot over from 20 yards being the best they could muster in a performance to forget.
(Dagnall 63, 66, pen)
Leeds United 0
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Barnsley: Steele, Stones, Crainie, McNulty, Kennedy, O’Brien (Mellis 33, Rose 88), Perkins, Dawson, Golbourne, Dagnall (Noble-Lazarus), Harewood.
Leeds: Kenny, Byram, Tate, Pearce, Peltier, Norris (Green 45), Austin, Tonge, Barkley, Diouf (McCormack 45), Becchio.
Referee: Craig Pawson.