Leeds United skipper Liam Cooper frustrated at same old story for Whites

Liam Cooper in action for Leeds United at Charlton, up against Josh Cullen. Picture: Tony Johnson
Liam Cooper in action for Leeds United at Charlton, up against Josh Cullen. Picture: Tony Johnson

Leeds United skipper Liam Cooper was left as frustrated as the fans at another dominating display that did not bring reward for the team at Charlton Athletic.

The Whites suffered their second defeat of the season and dropped down to fourth place in the Championship with the 1-0 reverse against a side managed by their former player, Lee Bowyer.

And once again it was a goal conceded from a corner that undid United along with their failure to stick the ball in the back of the net despite plenty of chances to do so.

After the game captain Cooper said ”It’s the same old. We’re getting in positions and not taking our chances and they need one set play.

“They score from the set play and then it gives them something to hold onto and make the game ugly. They can slow it down. All of those things come to it.

“Teams are going to do that and we’ve got to wise up to these things.

“Obviously we’re bitterly disappointed but we’ve got a long way to go. It’s not going to define our season and we’ve got a chance to go again on Tuesday in a great game for us.

“We’ll be looking to bounce back.”

Leeds must now try and hit back against the team that replaced them at the top of the table as they host West Brom and clearly have to rectify their problem at both ends of the pitch.

In between the goalmouths they have more or less dominated every team they have come up against this season and that was the case again at Charlton.

Their first sniff of goal was when Patrick Bamford’s ball across just evaded Jamie Shackleton in the six-yard box.

Defenders Ben White and Cooper both brought saves out of home keeper Dillon Phillips as United showed they could be dangerous from corners.

Jonathan Leko then had to clear an Ezgjan Alioski shot off the line, but it was the home side who broke the deadlock from their first corner.

The ball in was not cleared and Tom Lockyer got an effort in on goal which Kiko Casilla could only push out to Macauley Bonne who scored from close range.

More opportunities came to nothing as frustration began to grow for Leeds either side of half-time.

Bamford was perhaps lucky not to be sent off after letting his frustrations show with a hack at Conor Gallagher with referee John Brooks opting for leniency with a yellow card.

Half-time substitute Eddie Nketiah could not come to United’s aid this time as he sent a glancing header wide.

White also sent a header wide as Charlton were pressed back again, but survived.

Nketiah saw his effort roll agonisingly just past the post and also narrowly evade Helder Costa and when another of the subs, Adam Forshaw, saw his shot blocked it was all over on a disappointing day for the Whites and their travelling army of fans.

Charlton boss Bowyer was obviously delighted to take the three points after putting into practice a weakness he had spotted in the way Leeds play under Marcelo Bielsa.

He said: “I watched a lot of Leeds games, like I do every other team and I recognised that they struggle against teams that play with three at the back.

“They don’t create half as many chances as they do against teams that play with four at the back.

“My intention was to start with a back four at the beginning and really try and get after them and disturb them if you like and that seemed to work but I always knew that after 20 minutes we was going to go back to a back three and then maybe try and soak up a bit of pressure and hit them on the break. We did that and all my plans worked.”

Bowyer did have words of praise for his former club and current boss Bielsa.

He added: “To beat, for me, the best team in the league is always a great achievement.

“I thought we deserved it. Obviously, we’re going to be under a bit of pressure at times. Everyone that Leeds play are under pressure. How quickly they move the ball, how quickly they break on you.

“I’ve got the utmost respect Leeds. Their fans, the management. I watched Leeds two years ago before he took over and they weren’t very good. Now, they’re a top side and that’s down to the management and his staff.”

Match facts

Charlton Athletic 1

(Bonne 32)

Leeds United 0

Championship

Attendance: 21,808

Charlton: Phillips, Solly, Lockyer, Sarr, Purrington, Pratley, Cullen, Gallagher (Pearce 86), Williams (Aneke 54), Leko, Bonne (Field 82).

Leeds; Casilla, Dallas, White, Cooper, Alioski (Nketiah 45), Phillips, Shackleton (Forshaw 45), Klich, Costa, Harrison, Bamford (Roberts 68).

Referee: John Brooks.