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Daniel Farke cannot simply repeat Leeds United selection mistake

Leeds United maintained their unbeaten run in the Championship after managing a 2-2 draw against Watford on Friday night at Vicarage Road. 

The Whites boss was pleased with the manner they fought back in the second half to secure a precious point. However, he looked disappointed that his side couldn’t train properly ahead of the match.

The international break has disrupted the momentum and Farke said that his side failed to find the rhythm in the first half when they conceded two goals.

Leeds also faced problems with injuries ahead of the game. Willy Gnonto, Ilia Gruev and Connor Roberts all missed out due to injuries, and it forced the Whites’ boss to change the system a bit.

Junior Firpo could only make the bench after his delayed return from international duty. He did play towards the end, coming on as a sub in the final 25 minutes.

Farke was forced to start with Ethan Ampadu in the middle in the absence of Gruev. With Pascal Struijk out for the rest of the season, Liam Cooper came into the side to partner Joe Rodon at the back.

Graham Smyth wrote on X – “Seems pretty clear that the Ampadu-Rodon axis should not be altered.” The Yorkshire Evening Post journalist was absolutely spot on as Leeds struggled to find any sort of cohesion in the first half and needed an “excellent” effort from Crysencio Summerville to stay in the game.

Jonny Cooper, the stat man for Opta, shared on X that Watford “didn’t have a single shot or touch in our penalty area and completed just 31 passes” once Ampadu and Rodon’s partnership was restored by Farke in the 64th minute.

This indicates that unless either of the two gets injured, there’s no way Farke can repeat the same error. The duo has been instrumental in taking Leeds to this position, and they have been phenomenal since the turn of the year.

The Whites boss will hope to get Gruev back in the next game against Hull City on Monday, while Firpo should replace Sam Byram at left-back in the next game. Farke can afford to tweak the midfield areas but he simply cannot break the partnership at the back.

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