Leeds United: Does Warnock deserve criticism? Your opinions wanted!

After yesterday’s utter capitulation against Hull City, criticism was levelled directly at Warnock, his tactics and his team selection from all angles. Whether it was Twitter or WACCOE that you visited, there were many people who were justifiably angry at how Warnock set the team up.

The reality of Warnock’s style of football, which can be accurately summed up as “long”, is that when it results in a victory, it is difficult to criticise, but when it results in a loss, all the flaws of this style become obvious to even the most lax of football watchers. There is clearly no plan B, and the only passing moves we make are on the counter or after a defensive error, on the transition. The midfield is often entirely bypassed, and creative players find themselves useless after the game has settled into a normal rhythm. Yesterday, against Hull, Leeds managed a mere 35% of possession, the sort of statistic teams have to face up to when they play against the likes of Barcelona. Is this acceptable?

On the other hand, Warnock has had to deal with limited resources this season. Would he have brought the players in that he signed had he had more money? Will January lead to a shift?

Initial signs suggest “no”. Warnock is, after all, one of many managers who spent millions on Ade Akinbiyi, choosing to spend a then club-record of £1.75m on him when he signed him for Sheffield United in 2006. In reality, Warnock has been able to spend fairly freely at every club he’s ever got promoted from the Championship.

QPR were good, they were solid, but they had a player in Taraabt who was far and away the best player in the league, who could metaphorically pick up the ball and win games singlehandedly. He was, of course, not initially brought to the club by Warnock, with previous manager Jim Magilton hailing him as a “genius”. Similarly, the player that Warnock described as the “best [he] has ever worked with”, Alejandro Faurlin, was brought to the club before his time. Warnock brought solidity to QPR, Clint Hill, Shaun Derry etc..

Is Warnock a dinosaur tactically? Has The Championship, with the money that is being thrown into it these days, moved on from a few years back? When Hull passed it near us, our players looked at the ball as if it was some sort of magical mystery. Have the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, Nigel Adkins and Roberto Di Matteo shown that with the right manager, a lower league side can achieve great success playing football that is actually enjoyable to watch? We supposedly have a bit of money, surely no less than any of these managers had when they were getting promoted. Do we want Warnock making signings or someone with a more modern style of football to implement?

Is Warnock the manager Leeds want going forward? I’m interested to hear the opinions of this site’s readers. Please comment below, email me or send me a Tweet – if I receive enough in the way of comments, I’ll synthesise opinions for an article tomorrow.

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Leeds miss out on Chris Wood, unable to compete financially with Leicester

Neil Warnock has today, in his criminally under read weekly column in the Independent newspaper, admitted that Leeds United were in the market for West Brom striker and future Leicester signing Chris Wood, a position Warnock has pointed out as requiring strengthening in the January transfer window.

Warnock has said that he, in terms of budget, “just can’t compete financially with Leicester”.

Leicester are, of course, one of the more spend-happy teams in the Championship, and were able to lavish £30,000+ a week on former Leeds man Jermaine Beckford when signing him a year and a half ago.

The question is now, for Leeds fans, whether the newly GFH Capital-backed Warnock is still having to deal with immense constraints on his budget, or if we would have been able to sign a talent like Wood had Leicester not also been in the market. Whilst the latter is still painful and unideal, it would be less of an issue were Wood overpaid in Warnock’s eyes. It is, however, a knock to those who believed GFH represented a shift towards lavish spending and an easy promotion.

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Leeds United: Loan Signings Review…plus their futures at Elland Road

Ahead of their contracted final game for Leeds (against Hull City), we are reviewing the contribution of the loanees to the ups and downs of Leeds United thus far this season:

Michael Tonge: Arguably the most important of the loan signings we have made this season, Tonge has been an important creative force in the center of a midfield that lacked one when the season began. Derided when shoved out to the left hand side of midfield, where he was lost and ineffective, Tonge was, with the arrival of fellow loanee Jerome Thomas, able to move back into the center, where he has since proven his effectiveness. Able to pinpoint a pass, something his fellow midfielders often seem entirely unable to do, Tonge could be seen as key to the upturn in form since Thomas’s arrival. Has also scored some useful goals in the context of the season. Must admit, got this one completely wrong at first. Whilst he has already gone back to his parent club, Tonge has no future at Stoke and will almost certainly be signed permanently in January. Done a good job, would not blame Warnock for signing him – 6/9.

Jerome Thomas: As much as we thought he was after Crystal Palace, sadly Jerome Thomas is not Max Gradel. Flatters to deceive at times, but with a run in the side and a lack of injuries could turn out to be a really good player at this level. Time is not on his side though, with only one game left to run on his initial loan. If I were speaking to him one-on-one, I would recommend attempting to manoeuvre a permanent transfer, as he is likely a step below what is required at the upper end of the Premier League (which, it must be remembered, is where West Brom are plying their trade this year). Whilst he has seemed ‘off’ in many games, the statistics do not lie: played 7, won 5; two assists and a goal. Sign him up – 12/14.

Alan Tate: The last two games have been unkind to Tate in my eyes – where Pearce would likely have battled and scared Middlesbrough’s hulking striker, Tate allowed himself to be trampled. Looked calm and assured in the first few games of his loan however, and it may just be a blip. At the very least, we certainly need a third center back of some quality – Paddy Kisnorbo proved last year that he cannot and should not come into contention for first team football at any point this season, and word on the streets suggests Leigh Bromby would be lucky to walk properly ever again, never mind play football. Disappointed recently, but can still go on to make himself a solid feature in the rest of the season, should he be signed – 1.7/3.

Not mentioned: Ryan Hall (already signed permanently for a reported £150,000). Hall, 24, has been pointed to as a player of ‘potential’ by Warnock, which makes sense, given that Warnock seems to consider players to be in their peak well into their thirties.

Ultimately, the loanees have been imperative to some of our successes and have generally avoided being tarred with the brush of our failures. All three deserve signing, whether permanently or until the end of the season. They will certainly provide more to Leeds in the second half of the season than the likes of Varney, Connolly, Gray etc.

Follow Amitai Winehouse on Twitter (@awinehouse1).