So, what did we learn from Leeds United’s 2-0 friendly defeat by traditional rivals Manchester United in Oslo on Wednesday?

Workout over result

It’s a pre-season cliché, but still valid nonetheless. Obviously it would have been nice to win or not to lose, but no one associated with Leeds United will be overly concerned by the result. Pre-season is primarily about the performance and much-needed physical workout after a long hiatus as players strive for match fitness. The result is secondary.

No doubt the sparring gave the manager something to ponder after his charges failed to land any serious punches. It was the first opportunity for Daniel Farke to assess his players and learn more about them in a match situation. That is in itself an invaluable part of the process.

Our pre-season is well and truly underway and I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, I’m relieved. My biggest fear was that we were going to got into preseason with a caretaker technical team. That fear was allayed just in time for the start of pre-season with the appointment of Farke, who will now proceed to mould the squad in his image in readiness for the season.

The playing squad

I expect that there will be a few departures before the season gets underway, but if we can retain the bulk of the players who were part of the traveling party to Oslo, then we will be in a very healthy position.

Obviously the manager will be experimenting with various partnerships in defence, midfield and attack throughout pre-season, so we can’t read too much into the squad that started the match. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if a few of the players who started against Manchester United start the opening day clash against Cardiff City. In particular, Luis Sinisterra, Ian Poveda and Giorgiono Rutter didn’t do their chances any harm. I also liked the look of Lewis Bate and Archie Gray in the second half.

Manchester United vs Leeds United

We need a striker

The need becomes more urgent now that Rodrigo, the club’s top goal scorer last season, has left for Qatar. We need to bolster our attack options. We didn’t threaten United much and failed to register any shots on target. The latter point is hardly a serious concern at this early stage of the pre-season. However what it does highlight is the need to bring in a proven goal scorer and one made for the physical rigours of the Championship. Failure to shore up in that department would be extremely negligent and could prove the difference between challenging for promotion and languishing in mid-table mediocrity.

With his well documented injury record, valid doubts persist about whether Patrick Bamford can thrive in the Championship. It would be a big risk to go into the season with him as the main man in attack.

The kids are alright

I opined in an earlier article that Daniel Farke will give the young players a fair crack of the whip. True to form, we caught a glimpse of the future – a few youngsters who could force their way into the manager’s plans for the season ahead. I thought Kris Moore, Archie Gray and Lewis Bate acquitted themselves admirably. It will be interesting to watch them throughout pre-season as they try to stake their claims for regular first team football.

On-field post-match debriefing

The game was long over. Players were shaking hands, some applauding the crowd and obliging selfie requests. Others were trudging down the tunnel.  Then one scene caught my attention; the site of Farke in an animated conversation imparting his wisdom to one of the younger players, hand gestures and all. Clearly the manager had made mental notes during the match and seized the earliest opportunity to debrief the player. The younger players in particular will be better for the feedback.

On to the next one.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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