Ian Harte gave a damning assessment of Leeds United’s season and says the excuses must stop if they are to complete a great escape from relegation.
Sam Allardyce’s men host Tottenham at Elland Road on Sunday knowing only a victory will give the Yorkshire side any chance of preserving their top-flight status, and Harte criticised claims made by Luke Ayling citing the side’s lack fitness after a 3-1 defeat at West Ham.
He told FourFourTwo via Freebets.com, “I disagree with what he said there. Not fit enough? Leeds always run. They do score goals, but they’ve conceded more than they’ve scored.
“For a player to come out and say ‘I don’t think we’re fit enough’ is hard to accept, because every kind of training session is monitored.
“All players have little packs on the backs; you can see the running stats and you can’t hide away from anything nowadays.
“Even when they’re playing first-team games like at West Ham, all of those same stats are collated. You’ve just got to deal with the fact you’ve lost your game. You need to put your body on the line and accept that you’re in a relegation battle.
“There’s no point in sulking about it, you got to go and earn the right to play in the Premier League next season.”
The former Leeds defender believes the side lack leaders within the squad and feels the side have missed the presence of Liam Cooper, who has struggled to overcome a troublesome knee injury.
“Liam Cooper has been massively missed, because he does speak to the lads during games. I just think that certain players cannot deal with the pressure, especially at Elland Road because Leeds fans are the best fans in the world.
“Naturally they will voice their opinion if things aren’t going right, and I think certain players have gone into their shells.”
Harte admits he is puzzled that this particular Leeds side is fighting to beat the drop given the investment into the squad, and hinted that the appointment of Allardyce should have been made earlier this season.
“I’m not really sure why they’re in this position because they started the season brightly with wins over Wolves and Chelsea. But they’ve only won seven games all season.
“When you look at that group of players and how well they backed Jesse Marsch at the start of the season, I’m shocked that they’re in a relegation battle.
“Jesse gets the sack and Javi Gracia comes in. When you look at that decision now, it probably would have been better if they had brought in Sam Allardyce earlier to give him a bit more time to try and help the team, alongside Robbie Keane and Karl Robinson.
“To find themselves with one game to go needing to win and hope that Leicester and Everton don’t get results, is far from ideal.
“I think Everton will get a result if I’m being honest. Everton are home to Bournemouth who are now safe, so I do think they will get the win.”
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