Former Leeds United defender Dominic Matteo has blasted Leeds United for failing to get over the line in their Championship play-off semi-final against Derby.
Having led 1-0 from the first leg, Stuart Dallas made it 2-0 on aggregate after 24 minutes, and despite making it 3-3 following a hat-trick of Derby goals, Jack Marriot’s second of the game made it 4-3 and eventually took the Rams to Wembley.
Matteo said that Leeds deserved to be dumped out of the play-offs in the end, having slipped up in their hunt for automatic promotion in the final weeks of the season.
“The game management from Leeds sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. What killed Leeds last night was the goal just before half-time and the goal just after,” the 45-year-old said to Talksport.
“There’s no experience in the team. At 2-0 in the tie there’s no one talking on the pitch, no one organising, no leaders, no one putting their foot on the ball and slowing things down. They only play one way. If there are a couple of mistakes players don’t get on each other, they don’t have a go at each other, it’s too nice out there at times.
“I just think we generally lacked the experience, game management and leaders to get us over the line at the crucial time, and we didn’t turn up in the big games towards the end of the season.”
It was a calamitous night for Leeds at Elland Road on Wednesday. There was so much talk about the Whites – being 1-0 up going into the home leg – would have their fans behind them and would prove too strong for Frank Lampard’s men, but that was not the case at all. It seemed like it would be when the first of Dallas’s goals went in. Being 2-0 up, you had to fancy Leeds at that point. But incredibly, the Rams fought back and were level at 3-3 on 58 minutes. You have to give full credit to Lampard, because whatever he said at half-time seemed to work alright. In the end, even after Dallas’s goal, Derby had the momentum and that proved to be the spark, with Marriot’s second goal booking Derby a place at Wembley against Aston Villa. It will be an encapsulating final, with both teams desperate to make it back into the Premier League.