Leeds United

Leeds United

Championship

Leeds told three key reasons for play-off final heartache, but one star labelled ‘excellent’

Daniel Farke and Archie Gray, Leeds United

Leeds United have failed to gain promotion back to the Prem

Leeds United have failed to secure an immediate return to the Premier League after losing the Championship play-off final to Southampton, and pundits have been giving their reaction to the defeat.

Leeds were incredibly unlucky not to go up through the automatic promotion spots, winning 27 out of 46 league games and reaching 90 points but still finishing six points behind second-placed Ipswich Town. Daniel Farke’s side beat Norwich City 4-0 on aggregate in the semi-final but suffered yet more play-off misery in the final on Sunday.

Adam Armstrong’s 24th-minute strike proved to be the winner as Leeds’ forwards – including Championship Player of the Season Crysencio Summerville – stuttered on the big stage.

On Sky Sports, pundits Jobi McAnuff, Neil Warnock and Troy Deeney analysed what went wrong for Leeds.

After Warnock praised match-winner Armstrong for tracking back and making last-minute recovery runs, McAnuff explained how Leeds’ attackers did not do this.

“It was a big contrast to the other side, in terms of that work rate. We talk about the big players stepping up, I didn’t see enough from that Leeds front four (Summerville, Georginio Rutter, Joel Piroe and Wilfried Gnonto) to start with.

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“They got going a little bit when Dan James came on.”

Warnock added that Leeds lacked leadership in central midfield, before McAnuff continued: “When your best player (Armstrong) is willing to put that shift in, the message that sends round to the rest of the (Southampton) team…

Leeds United news: Whites forwards struggle in defeat

“Whereas the other four we’re expecting more from (Leeds’ attackers), it didn’t quite happen with the ball, perhaps maybe (they) could have given more without it. That just spread round the Leeds team today.”

While Leeds lacked a good enough work rate, failed to get their forwards into the game and struggled with leadership in the middle of the park, one player who did make an impact was James.

The winger came off the bench in the 66th minute and started to cause Southampton problems with his direct running and pace. James also came very close to netting a fantastic equaliser for Leeds, sending a powerful effort onto the crossbar.

Deeney was impressed by James’ performance and went on to call him ‘excellent’, but the 26-year-old will ultimately be playing Championship football next term if he remains at Elland Road.

READ MORE: The six clubs all wanting to sign award-winning Leeds attacker Crysencio Summerville this summer