Gracia urges Leeds to ‘improve’ in attack as Brighton boss bemoans ‘two dropped points’
Javi Gracia retains belief that Leeds will stay in the Premier League after a 2-2 home draw against Brighton left them in the bottom three.
Leeds dropped into the relegation zone before kick-off at Elland Road after Bournemouth’s surprise win against Liverpool and twice hit back to clinch a crucial point against their high-flying visitors.
Jack Harrison rescued Leeds with a brilliant curling finish. Brighton had regained the lead through his own goal after Patrick Bamford’s superb effort before the interval had cancelled out Alexis Mac Allister’s header.
When asked if Leeds had enough goals in the team to survive the drop, Gracia said: “Yes I think we are able to do it because today we’ve done it.
“Of course we can improve. If you see the last games and the chances we created, we need to improve.
“But today we scored two goals and I believe in the future we’ll be able to do it as well.”
Leeds’ fans were untypically subdued at kick-off after Bournemouth’s unlikely win saw them leapfrog their side and West Ham out of the relegation zone.
Gracia claimed he was not aware his players had felt any extra pressure.
“I don’t know,” the Spaniard said.
“We didn’t speak about it. To be honest I don’t know. I knew the result, but I don’t know if they (the players) knew it or felt something different.
“What I could feel was that they were really focused on the game and motivated for it.”
Harrison has struggled for his best form in recent weeks and will now hope to have turned a corner.
Gracia added: “I think Jack is an example in many things. He works for the team a lot, defending, attacking, creating chances, scoring goals like today.
“The quality he has is not in doubt for me. He’s a very good player.”
Leeds sit second-bottom in the table, while Brighton have climbed above Fulham into seventh.
The Seagulls spurned two more clear chances in either half, through Mac Allister and substitute Danny Welbeck and head coach Roberto De Zerbi was left disappointed.
De Zerbi said: “I think we lost two points today. We played very well against a good team and I’m really sorry for the result because of the quality of play for the entirety.
“We had many chances to kill the game, to close the game and we have to learn and improve in this part. I have never suffered for a result like today.”
De Zerbi had said pre-match that how his players handled the atmosphere at Elland Road would be a big factor and he was delighted with their response.
“Like lions!” he added. “In terms of mentality we were fantastic. I think in parts of the second half Leeds fans understood the game was very difficult for them.”
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