Javi Gracia admits something must change after Leeds thumped by Bournemouth
Javi Gracia has admitted something must change after Leeds saw their survival hopes take a huge blow after a damaging 4-1 loss at Bournemouth.
Gracia watched his team lose for a fourth time in five matches and while they remain 16th in the Premier League, they face Manchester City and Newcastle over the next fortnight with only a point cushion to the relegation zone.
Patrick Bamford’s first-half header proved a mere consolation at the Vitality Stadium in the end with under-fire goalkeeper Illan Meslier at fault for two Bournemouth goals and a tactical tweak to a 5-2-3 failing to pay off for the former Watford boss.
“Of course, if we concede the mistakes we are conceding in all the games, it is difficult to compete well and to get the results we need. We have to be more consistent in defending, attacking more aggressively. If we don’t do that, it will be difficult to get the points we need,” Gracia conceded.
“I don’t like to speak much about our situation on the table or that but in this moment we are not in relegation (zone).
“Of course, we have now tough games and we have to be ready for that. We need to keep our mentality and try to believe we can do it.
“Above all, try to work hard these next days and try to prepare for the next game. It is the only way I know to improve the situation.
“You know when I arrived, the situation was even worse and now, of course, the last results are tough for all of us but we have to change this dynamic and we have four games to do it.”
When Gracia was asked if he still had the backing of the board, who only appointed the Spaniard on February 21, he provided a lacklustre answer that followed a similar defensively showing from his out-of-form side.
The 52-year-old did insist, however, that his players have the character to stay up despite Jefferson Lerma’s first-half brace, a sixth goal of the season for Dominic Solanke and Antoine Semenyo’s maiden Bournemouth strike increasing the pressure on Leeds.
“If I am here, I suppose,” Gracia replied when quizzed on the trust of the Leeds board.
“You need character and other values but I think my players have them.
“From half-time against Palace (5-1 defeat), everything changed and then we have to find a way to recover our level and we have to do it as soon as possible because there are only four games left.”
Leeds supporters initially vented their frustration at sporting director Victor Orta and the board during their 18th defeat of a tough campaign, but by the end of the 4-1 reverse their anger had turned to the players.
Gracia insisted: “I think Leeds supporters are always with the team. That is what I feel from my arrival.
“Of course, they prefer to be in another situation like all of us but in this moment, I think they expect to see their team play better and winning than listening to many words.”
Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil was delighted to see his side virtually secure safety but admitted there would be no lavish celebrations in his household.
“Yeah, 39 points from 34 games is a big effort,” the Cherries’ rookie manager said.
“Today is relief that we put in a big performance and achieved what I think is Premier League safety, so I will enjoy this evening with the family.
“I was in A&E last night with my youngest daughter. She had an accident, nothing serious, so get home and see how she is.
“Probably spend the evening in the lounge with maybe a beer, a tea, some chocolate. There are some Easter eggs left.
“Yeah, I will just enjoy it with them. I want to spend some time with the people who have supported me. They’ve seen some dark evenings in the O’Neil house, so let’s enjoy this one with them.”