Gracia: Nobody understands how Leeds changed so much from first to second half vs Palace

News Desk
Javi Gracia during a match

Leeds United head coach Javi Gracia has called on his players to learn from their heavy home defeat to Crystal Palace last Sunday.

An incredible second-half turnaround from Palace saw them come from behind to stun Leeds 5-1 at Elland Road as the visitors scored four after the break with Jordan Ayew scoring a brace.

The heavy defeat handed Leeds a setback in their bid for Premier League survival and Gracia admitted the game was “hard to manage” after Palace scored their third.

“Of course we have to analyse the things that happened in that game because nobody can understand how we could change so much from the first half to second half,” Gracia told a press conference.

“It’s something we have to analyse and try to improve.

“After the game, we spoke about what we spoke about in half-time – trying to improve some details, defending, set-pieces. In the first half we played a good first 45 minutes.

“But after, with more distances, not being so aggressive, not being so intense, then the spaces appear and in that moment, the quality of Palace players as well is something.

“In three minutes we conceded two goals and it was the key. After that the third goal, it was hard to manage and very tough to manage for us.

“It was like when a boxer received a punch – one, two, three seconds a little bit – I think something similar happened.

“It’s something we have to learn from and after that try to prepare for the next game.”

Sitting two points above the relegation zone, Leeds have eight games left to try to secure safety, starting with big test against Liverpool on Monday, but Gracia urged his players to learn from last weekend’s experience.

He added: “It’s never easy to manage the defeat. You always live better with a good result but I think it’s necessary sometimes to feel that disappointed and to learn to grow up.

“It’s important to feel that experience – if you learn from it. In this case, I think the players felt that difficult moment and now for the rest of the season, I hope it helps us for these games and to compete better (for them).”

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