West Ham 3-1 Leeds: Sam Allardyce acknowledges defeat as a ‘huge ask’
Leeds boss Sam Allardyce believes it will be a “big ask” to secure Premier League survival, especially if injured forwards Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo are unable to play in next week’s last game against Tottenham.
Leeds know they will be demoted back to the Championship if they fail to beat Spurs three seasons after being promoted to the Premier League.
Even if Everton win their final game against Bournemouth and Leicester win their last two games, it will not be enough.
Micah Richards, a former Manchester City defender, told Sky Sports after Leeds’ 3-1 loss to West Ham on Sunday: “It looks pretty bad for Leeds now.” It’s a disaster for them.”
Who will survive the relegation fight?
Leeds have a “slim” prospect of staying up, according to full-back Luke Ayling. However, Allardyce believes it is contingent on the availability of Bamford, who was replaced in the first half against West Ham due to a hamstring injury, and Rodrigo, who was eventually substituted after playing through the pain of a foot ailment.
“It’s a tall order if both are missing.” “Fact,” he stated. “I can’t hide it.” I might have to switch to a new system.”
‘I’m not crazy; I simply like football.’
The fact that Allardyce ended his post-match news conference by crossing his fingers and saying he “hoped” any post-season negotiations with the Leeds management would take place while the Elland Road club was still in the Premier League speaks volumes about their predicament.
“A lot of people told me I was crazy to take the job,” he explained. “I’m not angry. I adore football, and the opportunity was too good to pass up, no matter how brief.”
Ayling is aware of Leeds’ predicament. Despite the fact that many visiting fans left London Stadium before the end, the defender remains upbeat about the situation.
“There is yet a glimmer of optimism. “We have to seize that,” he remarked. “All we have to do is go out there next week and try to take care of our business.”
“We know it’s a slim chance, but we have to hold on to it and try to go out on a positive note because the fans deserve it.”
‘We have a lack of quality on both ends.’
Leeds’ difficulty stemmed from Allardyce’s evaluation of what went wrong against West Ham.
Leeds got off to a good start, with Rodrigo putting the visitors ahead with a goal that briefly lifted them out of the relegation zone.
However, they failed to fully capitalize on a promising start, and once West Ham got into their stride, they were too strong.
“I knew it was going to be difficult when it was only 1-0 after 15 minutes, after we had played so well, given we have struggled to keep a clean sheet for a long time,” Allardyce remarked.
“What we lack is quality at both ends, to defend better and create more opportunities.” Those two important areas have been very disappointing for us, and none of our substitutes have made a difference.”
Allardyce claims to know what is wrong at Leeds and has played over 1,000 games to understand how to fix it.
But, having won just one point in three games after being brought in to save a precarious situation when Javi Gracia was sacked, whether he is asked is another matter entirely.