Javi Gracia knows Bournemouth game is must-win for Leeds
Leeds boss Javi Gracia admitted only three points will do from Sunday’s Premier League game at relegation rivals Bournemouth.
Gracia’s side missed the chance to move four points clear of the bottom three in midweek when held 1-1 by fellow strugglers Leicester at Elland Road and have taken only one point from their last four matches.
The Spaniard has so far refused to label any of his previous games as ‘must-win’, but after dropping two points on Tuesday night only five matches remain in their bid to retain top-flight status.
Gracia said: “In the situation we are in, for sure we need to put everything into this game because we have missed the last chances and we have to take the next one.”
After Sunday’s trip to the south coast, Leeds face title-chasers Manchester City away before a trip to West Ham is sandwiched by home games against top-four challengers Newcastle and Tottenham.
Confidence is in short supply at Elland Road after damaging recent 5-1 and 6-1 home defeats to Crystal Palace and Liverpool were followed by a 2-1 loss at Fulham.
But a spirited display against Leicester has convinced Gracia his players believe they can recapture the form which earned them wins against Southampton, Wolves and Nottingham Forest under the Spaniard.
“I think the confidence is coming from all the things we have done before,” he said. “The players did it and they can do it again.
“First of all they are professionals and in my opinion, they are very good professionals and you have to manage or to deal with it. You have to handle it.
“There are moments when you feel better and there are moments when you feel worse, but in all of them you have to show your professionalism and give your best.
“Now is the crucial moment of season and now is when, feeling better or worse, you have to give your best. It is something simple like that.
“We have to keep going, keep working the way we are doing and I’m sure doing that, we’ll be able to change the dynamic we have.”
Leeds’ survival bid was dealt a blow with news this week that winger Luis Sinisterra has been ruled out of the final five games due to an ankle injury sustained against Leicester.
It remains to be seen whether Gracia relents to fan pressure and starts with Italy forward Willy Gnonto in Sinisterra’s absence or opts for Crysencio Summerville.
Key defender Max Wober (hamstring) remains doubtful, while Leeds have yet to confirm if Tyler Adams will feature again this season. The USA captain has missed the last seven games after hamstring surgery.