Dan James’ spark, Gnonto message and Rutter frustration as Leeds United held by West Brom
Luke Ayling’s header secured a point for Leeds United at Elland Road as their winless start continues
Leeds United battled to a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion at Elland Road on Friday night.

Here’s the winners and losers from the clash.

Georginio Rutter - Player profile 23/24 | Transfermarkt

Dan James

His best showing in a Leeds shirt for some time. The winger grew in confidence throughout the contest and in the second half especially he was a real livewire.

The Wales international struggled to find any sort of joy a week ago at St Andrew’s, but he had the beating of his opposite man Darnell Furlong for most of the night against the Baggies and after forcing a superb stop out of West Brom goalkeeper Alex Palmer with a lengthy effort, it was James who created the equaliser.
Finding space on the left, the winger hung an inch-perfect cross up to the back post for Luke Ayling to glance towards the corner of the net with a deft flick of his head. The performance is certainly something to build off and it was one he needed as he looks to breathe live back into his Leeds career.

Luke Ayling


Ayling was another who struggled last week and he came in for quite a bit of criticism for his performance. He redeemed himself this week, though, with the goal that secured the Whites’ second point of the campaign.


He had his difficult moments and there are still question marks about his defending down the right but he stepped up when Leeds needed him on Friday night with a huge show of character. He’s the most experienced player in this Whites side and that goal ought to do him a world of good with Cody Drameh snapping at his heels.



Wilfried Gnonto

Gnonto was not at Elland Road on Friday night but that didn’t stop the crowd from sending him a clear message and making their feelings towards him known. The forward hasn’t played for Leeds since the opening day of the season and just before kick-off, the Athletic published a report that claimed he had handed in a written transfer request.


The fans vented their anger with a series of songs aimed towards both him and Luis Sinisterra, who has also refused to play over the last week, while there was a banner unfurled in the South Stand of the Italian. Leeds have been clear that he won’t be sold and that does not bode well for the teenager as he looks to force his way out of the club.


The pressure is on Rutter to deliver this season and he struggled to do that on Friday night in the lone striker role. Brought into the side for his first start of the new season, Rutter struggled to make any sort of impact on the ball and went missing in the second half as he tired.

The Frenchman pressed well for much of the game and put the Baggies defenders under pressure but he was found wanting when in possession. He’ll be given time and he has recently returned from injury, but the striker’s performance only served to highlight how short the Whites are of attacking threat at present.


With two weeks to go in the transfer window, the club need a new number nine as a matter of urgency. A number 10 wouldn’t go amiss either to add a bit more nous and spark in the pocket.







Every word Daniel Farke said on Gnonto’s transfer request, Leeds United injuries, James, Rodon
The Leeds United manager was speaking after the club’s 1-1 draw with West Brom
There were some key decisions tonight, bearing those in mind what was your take on them and was it a fair result?

Well, normally I never comment on decisions of the referee because after the game, we can’t change it today. Even the guys from Sky have told me it was clear handball before the goal, I think, was also offside, they told me. I’ve not seen it back because I can’t change it right now. Anyway, during the game was too difficult for me to see I just had the feeling was handball because it was quite obvious but I trusted this moment the referee but it seems like it was a crucial mistake. It’s sad for him, even more disappointing and sad for us.

Yes, and one or two scenes I also got the feeling we were pretty close to a penalty but I haven’t seen it back so far so if you say it was a mistake it doesn’t make a difference. So we can’t change it right now. We have to accept it. No VAR in this league and yes, for that we have to accept the goal against us.


Do you feel it was an unfair result in the way that you play?


Well, it’s not so much my topic to speak about deserved or unfair, football can be at times the cruellest and the most unfair sport in the world because not all other sports. It’s about many points. When you play basketball, sometimes you hit the ring, unlucky anyhow but over the whole game it’s always the better side always wins. It’s the same as tennis when you are there with many points and sometimes you hit the net the ball doesn’t go over the net but the player who was better and wins more points wins the game.


It’s so difficult to bring the ball over the line in football and yeah when I just check the statistics today we had much more possession, 12 shots out of the box. In the first half we didn’t give away one chance and the second half yes one chance when the Illan was there with a good safe and they scored the goal that should have been ruled out. We just scored one goal, created many many chances, should have scored if you want to be critical with my lads, I don’t want to be critical today to be honest, but if I have to criticise something then I have to speak a bit what effectiveness to use our chances more brutal and a bit more clinical.
So definitely a game where we should have won three points but today I’m not so willing to criticise my lads. I just have compliments for them because I like the performance against a really, good side, a really experienced side, against the side who will be another big contenders for promotion. Unbelievably experienced side, West Brom, so it says a lot that their youngest player on the pitch today was older than my average age of the whole squad today.

It says a lot about our circumstances at the moment. To then to be able to change the game to turn it again. I love the attitude of let’s that we never know when once we are beaten. I love this attitude and just want to praise that attitude and want to praise the performance, unbelievable unlucky with the result but what I can judge is the performance, mentality and spirit and this was top class today. Under the circumstances especially for that I was pleased.


Well the circumstances, you had seven on the bench today, again two keepers, no Ian Poveda, it’s difficult to change a game when it’s like that. Poveda for one wasn’t available, was he injured?


Yeah suddenly he felt some pain to this morning in his adductors and we scanned him in order to take the risk and this tight little adductor strain and he’ll be out for about 10 days. So missed the game today and also next week.


Yes, it’s tough at the moment. So it feels also a bit in the first three league games a bit like there was six shots on target and five goals and we are there fighting and struggling and finding it so difficult to bring the ball over the line and create so many chances. I think goalkeeper today again with a world class save especially against Daniel James and we hit the inside of the post. Unlucky decisions against us.


We all know there are these periods during a football season and you have to dig in and grind out results and if I’m honest I’m really a bit disappointed we didn’t win all three points but I’m even a bit more happy that we’re still unbeaten at home and that from losing position again, we nearly took the game completely. We had this mentality again and to be there with by far the better team in comparison to a really experienced, really good team on this level.


In terms of selection, it’s good. So I don’t have so much of a headache at the moment and the other topic is also it was 11 against 11. So I can’t pick more than 11 players. I had five outfield players on the bench so I can’t bring in more than five outfield players. So for that, I don’t want any sympathy and I don’t want that we feel sorry for ourselves or use excuses to let the standards drop. So the lads that were available put a real shift in and a real workload and really good performance. With this I’m pleased and all the other topics I don’t complain about this I take it just like it is and we go through this and I’m quite sure that pretty, pretty soon also there will be much better times that also easier times for us in this period just like to dig in and find out results.


We understand that a transfer request has gone in from Willy Gnonto would you be happy if the club did sell now even if they said they wouldn’t?


No, tonight. It’s a topic I’ve not realised what’s happened over the day. This topic is in terms of incomings, outgoings. From tomorrow morning I will concentrate also on this topic at work a lot but today I was just concentrated to put all my attention and all my support, my help, my technical knowledge just into these players who were available. So my only focus today was just the game and I told everyone before, ‘listen, till after the game I don’t want to hear anything about any transfers, incomings, possibly outgoings’. It was so complicated today to play against such a side and didn’t want to be distracted.


So from tomorrow morning on or perhaps later on in half an hour we’ll concentrate also on the bigger topics in terms of transfers, but I can’t comment right now so far on what happened in the last hours because I literally don’t know what happened. I think our key people will brief me in half an hour so it will still a long night and from tomorrow and we will also work quite hard on this but today just football. I’m happy when I just can concentrate on football. So that was a bit of relief and yeah, Elland Road was again unbelievable and electric. I enjoyed the atmosphere tonight.


How do you help Daniel James to do what he did tonight consistently?


I think he was excellent today. He created so many good situations for us and brought us pace into the game. I think first of all he needs a bit of rhythm so he had difficult season, he needs a bit of confidence but not just confidence also to work on his game because there are a few topics in his game where he can improve from his positioning also, from his options. We work a lot on him to give him options how he can create chances, how he can assist, how he can score goals he brought himself today in many, many good situations, certainly sometimes the goalkeeper was there with outstanding saves.


I think the situation the second time he should have scored out of two yards he was perhaps even a bit too surprised, but I liked that he was there not just waiting a bit reluctant on the wing. I also want him to be greedy to go into the box and into the danger area and I think he’s improving at the moment from game to game and if he right now also adds even a few more end products to his game then he can be outstanding for this level, a great, great assist today. I’m happy with this and I’m pretty sure if he keeps going like this and works like this he will be also off the mark in terms of goals quite soon and he’s on a really good path.


How happy are you with the way the team have adapted to your tactics?


I can just praise the lads because it is never easy when you have such a short period and you are distracted with many other discussions and there are many incomings and outgoings, it is never easy. When I judge our games so far, we dominate more or less each and every game, maybe the Birmingham game was our poorest game. But, I have to say even there when you play a third game in six days and are then an away game, a difficult game at St Andrew’s but to have more than 60% possession, it says a lot. It is not just possession because we like to have the ball, it is because we create an unbelievable amount of chances and if I am honest, we don’t give away many chances today, just one.


At the moment we have to play without any mistake and yeah, when these times are requested, we have to reduce these one or two mistakes we have in terms of defending to hopefully return pretty soon with a clean sheet. We also have to work on effectiveness and using our chances, so we have a few more offensive options available quite soon, would also make our life a bit easier. But, we are working hard and I am happy we create so many good chances against deep sitting opponents and opponents who are experienced to bring a lead over the line. In this circumstances, it was really, really good and just compliments, yes one or two things are missing and we work on it, we will be fine.


One of the decision you made tonight was bringing Rodon in for Cresswell, why did you do that and what did you make of Joe’s performance?


First of all it was important for him to have a whole training week together with us. I think he was quite impressive and we had time to speak and work with him, also individually on our tactical approach. We got the feeling he was prepared and we don’t have to speak about his quality, he knows this league inside out, he was rock solid when he played in this league and that was the reason Tottenham spent so much money on him. He has unbelievable pace and it is good when we have to defend that high in the field, it helps. He brings also aerial threat into our game, we have many smaller, not the tallest players, also important for us in terms of set-pieces he is strong in duals and build up passes in his technique. Also, to find a pass, there is still a few things he can improve. I think in one or two scenes he took a bit too much risk in terms of stepping in.


Once we allowed them to have this one chance I would have preferred him to stay a bit more clam in his position. There are still parts of his game he can improve and we will work hard with him, but for the first game in this circumstance and with one week of training, let’s be honest he didn’t have really a pre-season game for Tottenham, so to deliver such a performance over 90 minutes says a lot about him and his character, we’re all happy to have him.


We saw you speaking to Ethan and Pascal in the centre circle at the end, what were your instructions to them?


I explained also straight away the situation of why we concede the goal, was probably a bad decision of the referee, because the goal should have been ruled out. But the situation we gave away before the two corners was exactly what I mentioned, so we left a bit our position and stepped in out of the centre-back too early. As a centre-back you can’t take any risk, you have to make sure to expect the worst and as a striker you have to expect the best.


As a centre-half, the mentality is always expect the worst and we didn’t do this in this game, this is the reason we allowed them to have one chance in the game. A great save from Illan, but then it is then, yeah football, a corner kick out of this we defended and then a corner kick again, we defended but they scored from a handball. Bad luck, but I would have preferred not to give this chance away. This was our biggest mistake today in the game and I explained the situation to them, because they played in similar situations and also know for the next game when to take risk and when not. Yes, it never stops to be a coach and to work on small details, perhaps it was a bit too soon after the game and I should have left them alone but it was important for me to bring the message across as soon as possible and the lads were there, so I told them.


The mood in the stadium was defined tonight, is that what is needed in this moment?


I think it’s unbelievable. This club has played on Premier League level and we spoke about our ambitions on the mid and long term, and we want to play on Premier League level. We want to establish ourselves there and we know that we want to be a member of a long period of time and everyone in the stadium wants this as well. Then we face a reality and we face difficult times at the moment after relegation with all this discussions and not easy for our supporters. To have this feeling also that they have to be there for the lads and carry them through difficult periods, also this feeling after just a draw to be there with standing ovations for the performance and for the shift we put in and the mentality, I think Elland Road was electric and exactly what I expected also when I signed the contract here.


I mentioned it, that these supporters are second to none in this country because once they are needed the most, they are always there to deliver. Even today, I think many many compliments to our supporters because we need them, our young lads need them. For me I am experienced and old enough, I can handle even when some supporters are not happy, that’s not a topic. But for our young lads, to show such a support and carry them once we conceded the goal, they felt our lads are disappointed, we have to be there to strengthen them and back them, and they did.


Our lads responded on the pitch and it was like a magical connection and I would have loved a late goal from Georgi with his strike, I think I would have been on the pitch as well and with a fine, but I would have celebrated today that’s for sure. If we go together with this togetherness with our supporters, we will have many, many evenings where we can celebrate together and I can handle the fine. I am looking forward to having such emotion. At the moment I just have many compliments for my players but even more for our supporters.


How happy will you be at the end of the window to have certainty?


On the 2nd of September I will have a proper sleep. At the moment the days don’t have enough hours, I have to prepare the lads for being ready for West Brom. It was so difficult with the tactical approach to prepare them, you watch many games but on the other hand you watch so many scenes of players, potential incomings at the moment it is like no private life.


You find it difficult to find sleep over the days, but listen, I lead a privilege life and I don’t complain, I also don’t want any sympathy or feels for me. I am living a privileged life and for me I am just grateful to work in a responsible role for this great club and also in this leading role, to be allowed in these difficult and challenging times to lead, to help a little bit for easier times soon. I am grateful and thankful, it is a joy to work for this club and also, a bit more sleep would be nice.


You said you ignored outside noise to focus on the match, but how disappointing is it when a player puts in a transfer request on the day of the game like Wilfried has?


Again, I didn’t have any information today because I told everyone to leave me alone until after the press conference. I have to speak with our key people and I don’t comment right now on any rumours of speculation or possible news. I wanted to be there for our lads today who were here and available, to help our supporters and to dig in and grind out a result, which is what we did today and all the other topics are for tomorrow morning.


At Norwich you had a difficult start when you first went there, how does this compare and how has that experience there helped you?


It helps, experience always helps, but also discussions with players who wanted to leave were not that focused. We had to have strict and strong decisions, not for the players because you can understand them at times, but also for the group and for the club, because you have to make sure you are in the drivers seat as a club and nobody is bigger than the club. It is just about the group and not about individuals, so for that it helps a lot.


I’ll be quite honest, in terms of exit clauses and contract clauses anyhow, this is a real special situation. It was not that bad in Norwich, but you can’t choose at times, we knew this before at times it would be tricky. What I can promise is the more I’ve said this, the closer we edge to the end of the window, the easier it will be our situation. What I can promise as long as I am in charge here and in a responsible role, this type of clauses will never happen again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *