Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani says that his club 'ruined everything in January,' after their recent disastrous run has left them with no chance to fight for promotion.
Leeds got off to a terrific start to their league campaign and were leading the table in September. By December, they were seventh but still in and amongst the contenders to battle for a play-off place at the end of the season. The club's pre-season target was a place in the play-offs, but now the season is almost a complete write off, after a torrid run since the turn of the year.
"The team was put together in the summer and did quite well until the end of December," explained Radrizzani, as quoted by the Yorkshire Post. "I was pleased with the results, but, unfortunately, in January we ruined everything."
After a short run of four wins in a row in December, Leeds have won just one league game in their last 13 matches. The Whites have dropped to 13th in the Championship table and have fallen 11 points adrift of the play-off places.
"We need to learn from our mistakes. Firstly, myself. I am the first person responsible for this situation, and my management. The players also have a big part in these results."
"We gave them [the players] long-term contracts, we support them going to a mid-season camp in Spain, we did everything they wanted, but we didn't get back their commitment, their passion, the spirit, particularly in the most important game we played very poorly against Middlesbrough away."
New head coach Thomas Christiansen, who started the season so brightly, was sacked in February as results began to plummet. His successor, Paul Heckingbottom has won just one since taking the helm.
But it was the players that the club owner took aim at, particularly after back to back 3-0 defeats at the hands of Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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"For me," he added, "it was the bottom of the season because there was no commitment, no passion, no spirit. I don't want players in my team and representing Leeds United with this behaviour. I hope they can learn and be with me next year, playing better with more commitment."
"This year it is impossible to think about promotion. We need to play the next [nine] games showing the spirit and passion that we're missing and show the players that we need their respect."