Pre-season round-up

All the preparations are out of the way, new faces have been brought in, dead wood has been shipped out and tactics have been tried against a myriad of different opponents, so what have we learnt?

Well, we should have the players, barring any major injury crisis, to control this league. We’re going to need to be disciplined and work as a team to counter our lack of speed but Elland Road isn’t the largest of grounds, so that should work in our favour. The defence worries me a little in that respect, but the experience in the middle, combined with the youngsters Parker and Omozusi in at full back, should hold against the League 1 quality of striker, so long as Walker doesn’t start getting erratic on us.

There is a touch of disharmony in the squad at the moment, which is to be expected given the change of personnel and my in-game inexperience, but nothing to be concerned about – a few solid victories from the off and moods will lift. The language barrier facing Leandro is something I’d like to see resolved sooner rather than later, though.
From my side, I’m going to need to work on my media / man management skills as a few players are concerned I’m not giving the team enough credit following comments when unveiling Campbell. We’ve also had, on the opening day of the season, Merino, Crowe, Bromby, Walker and Higgs revealing they believe I’ve treated them unfairly. This, I have no idea about but may need to tread on eggshells around them a little for the next month.

Tactically, I’m sticking with the tried-and-tested 4-4-2 with a fairly rigid philosophy (hey, it’s worked for Martin O’Neill all these years!). In the same vein, I’m keeping the creative freedom down and a more direct passing approach until our skill level improves (who says I don’t give them enough credit?).

I want to keep things as tight, defensively, as possible, but given our season expectations, we’ll still be looking to the likes of Merino and Snodgrass to create some opportunities from the midfield, Beckford to make something of his deeper lying striker role and Becchio to profit from it all.

But enough talk, it’s time to welcome Exeter to Elland Road…

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