Warnock aims to lift ‘shattered’ players

If Leeds United boss Neil Warnock did not know the size of the task he has in trying to win promotion with the Whites he certainly does now after the humiliating 7-3 defeat at home to Nottingham Forest.

Warnock admitted to being embarrassed by Tuesday night’s result, but said he had learned plenty about his players and the information would be stored for future reference.

Surveying the wreckage of a tough night for the team and fans, he said: “I don’t think you learn much about your players when you’re winning games.

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“I think you learn things when things go against you, who stands up and who you want in the trenches with you.

“You look at what happened in certain areas and store it. If we are to get promotion you can’t mentally go under in any position. I thought one or two lads went under a little bit.

“I’ve learned probably more than I have in the other games, but in fairness some of the players were just shattered.

“It wasn’t a night for rollocking anyone. We were lacking in certain areas and the goals were poor, but one or two kept going all night. I thought Robert Snodgrass and Michael Brown were super.

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“I don’t think the centre-backs played poorly, I just thought every shot was going to go in.

“We fought back really well, re-grouped and got to 3-3. I thought we could go on and win it, but their fourth goal’s terrible. It’s a Sunday League goal. I’ve told the players concerned, but you’ve got to keep that inside.

“I was disappointed with the second goal as well. I thought we should have cleared that. They were fortunate to get the corner they did for the third goal, but you’ve still got to defend it.

“I don’t think anyone could look in the mirror after the goals we’ve conceded. Going back to my Sunday League days I’d have been disappointed then to concede two or three of those goals.”

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Warnock admitted that in hindsight he should have made changes to the side after keeping the same starting 11 that had worked hard to draw with West Ham on Saturday.

He added: “I didn’t feel it was appropriate to make changes because they were super on Saturday.

“On reflection I should have done. It was obviously a problem for one or two lads to do two games in four days. I didn’t think it would be.

“To be fair, some of them were shattered.

“I don’t think any of the lads could have given more physically but they were drained.

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“I thought after 10 or 15 minutes that one or two of our main players were struggling fitness-wise. Beccs (Luciano Becchio) couldn’t really run. He was going to come off at half-time, but I just asked him to give me another 10 or 15 minutes. He was really running on empty and there were three or four like that.

“We haven’t got a lot to change it for, we’re a bit thin on the ground. But I think I’ve got to give one or two an opportunity on Saturday with some fresh legs if I can.”