Massimo Cellino must stay loyal to Uwe Rosler despite Leeds’ struggles, which sees the club on the brink of their worst ever run at home.
“I have a very good, professional relationship with Rosler because he is very professional. Overall I am happy with him.
“I don’t think about changing the manager.”
Those were the words of Leeds owner Cellino last month when questioned how long Rosler would last in the job at Leeds.
After firing four coaches in his 21 months at Elland Road, it was certainly refreshing to hear the controversial Italian vow to stay loyal to his current
But how much might this pledge of loyalty come back to bite Cellino on the backside given Leeds are one game away from their setting their worst run at home in the club’s history?
You have to go back to the 1981/82 season to find the last time Leeds went 10 home games without a win – a season that ended in relegation from the old First Division. Although five games of this run came at the end of last term (when Neil Redfearn was still in charge) there’s no escaping the fact that the club are just one game away from what will be their Elland Road nadir.
— Graeme Bandeira (@GraemeBandeira) October 7, 2015
Rosler has won just two of his 11 games in charge of Leeds so far, and although having only lost three times – four if you count the penalty shoot-out defeat to League One Doncaster in the Capital One Cup – it’s fair to say he’s struggled to convince so far in his short time at Elland Road.
The two wins Rosler has enjoyed so far (away at Derby and MK Dons) have certainly shown Leeds fans what Rosler is capable of, but the alarm bells are starting to ring.
Brighton lie in wait at Elland Road on October 17 and failure to win this one will leave Rosler with one very-much unwanted record at Leeds. It’ll also likely mean those alarm bells will ring out ever louder.
Show me a club with 100% contentment among supporters, and I’ll show you a liar. At Leeds, the discontentment has become a way of life; part of the fabric that comes with being a supporter of the club. It’s over 11 years now since the club suffered relegation from the Premier League, their longest spell outside the top flight in their entire history. Unison among fans, one-true voice if you like, is not commonplace. Far from it.
As such, there have already been whispers of discontent among fans with Rosler, his management and his tactics. That’s to be expected. Successive defeats at Middlesbrough and at home to Birmingham going into the international break Failure to Brighton and you can guarantee these voices will become much louder.
But even in defeat, or a more likely (?) a draw – five of the 10 league games so far have ended in a stalemate – now is not the panic. And certainly nor is it the time for Cellino to go back on his word and pull the trigger.
Leeds issues for Rosler
There has been positive signs so far. Charlie Taylor’s form – up until recently at least – has been exceptional. The two away wins have also coincided with two performances of real grit, determination and organisation – exactly what you’d expect from a Rosler side. Channelling that on a regular basis has to be the first job.
There are issues he needs to address too: the drop in form of last season’s Player of the Year, Alex Mowatt; the struggle to find a realiable central defensive partner to Sol Bamba; the lack of depth in the squad; the current 4-2-3-1 formation; and what the unmentionable has happened to Sam Byram?
I’d certainly urge the German to adopt a different formation at home. The 4-2-3-1 has enjoyed moderate success on the road; but at home looks far too rigid (ironic since it’s meant to be the preferred, fluid formation of the modern game) and far too easy to defend against.
Rosler almost needs to go back to basics. Summer signing Chris Wood needs more support up front, so why not sacrifice of the central midfielders for a two-pronged attack? Four-four-two might be unfashionable in this day and age, but Leeds at this point need substance over style. Mirco Antenucci has shown more than enough to be a regular starter alongside the big Kiwi, while Stuart Dallas and one of Will Buckley or Jordan Botaka give us options from the flanks.
If he’s picking the 4-2-3-1 formation so far to give the defence more protection, then it’s certainly not worked so far. Make this change now and at least Leeds should pose more of an attacking threat. And that’s exactly what’s needed to get over that home hoodoo right now.
When it comes, it’ll be a monkey off his back for sure. And when one comes, surely the rest will follow.
Rosler has the promise to be a successful manager for Leeds, but a little fine-tuning now would certainly not go amiss. The other issues I mention (in particular Mowatt and Byram) will likely fix themselves over time.
Cellino insists he has a two-year plan with Rosler – a man he ‘likes’ – to get Leeds into the Premier League. While that looks as far off as it ever has done right now, if he wants to fulfil that wish, then patience is a virtue he may need to learn quickly.
Discuss Rosler’s future and the club’s current struggles on the return of Leeds Your Say forum.