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George: Defending was 'awful'

Posted on 1 October 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

George Graham took another swipe at the quality of defending in the Premiership after Saturday’s thriller at Elland Road.

The boss pointed the finger at ‘awful’ defending, especially from set-pieces, as we conceded four goals in 12 minutes to turn what looked a solid 1-0 advantage at the break into a 4-2 deficit.

Sergei Rebrov pulled it back to 4-3 with 16 minutes left and although we pushed forward for a fourth, the damage had been done.

George commented: “We had a crazy 12 minutes, terrible marking at set-pieces and Leeds went 3-1 up. I thought we showed a lot of character coming back into the game on a couple of occasions and almost got the fourth goal in the last couple of minutes. But it could have been anything.

“I can work with players and I can improve them but I can’t make them absolutely brilliant. Before this we had one goal against in five games, we were going along nicely but both sides’ defending was awful.

“It’s generally the case in the Premiership anyway. Defending is well below standard.”

The second half was a complete contrast to a cagey, scrappy first half in which we had taken the lead with Rebrov’s 20-yarder and looked in control.

George added: “The first half was very low key, a low tempo game and I was delighted with that because I thought Leeds might be jaded after the week.

“I was happy with the tempo of the game, the fans were quiet and the game didn’t lift them. When we scored I thought we would go on and win it.

“It was an amazing game, the second half especially exciting for the fans, but they are the type of games you want to win. You don’t want to lose them.

"We just needed another goal in the last few minutes to make it a 4-4 thriller. Who would have thought David O’Leary and George Graham would have produced seven goals?"

To watch George Graham being interviewed, click here