Football: O'Leary bemoans `crazy' schedule

Coventry City 3 Leeds United 4

SOONER OR later, something has to give. Here was a Premiership match played - by one side, at least - not as the focal point of the week but as something for which they had a window in their schedule just wide enough to fit it in. Or that is how it must have felt to the 13 members of the Leeds squad touching base between last week's international matches and tomorrow's Uefa Cup excursion.

Amazingly, they still gave it everything. David Batty, inspired by the three lions only into committing a foolish act of violence in Warsaw, reawakened as the tiger of the Leeds midfield, much to the delight of his supporters, who countered the boos of the home crowd by loudly chanting his name. The game evolved at a typically fierce pace but Batty kept up all the way. The Premiership seems to know no other way of playing, which only compounds the problem.

"Too many mistakes," the Leeds manager, David O'Leary, groaned. "For a neutral, it must have been a great game but me, I'm greedy. I want us to excite people going forward but be mean at the back."

O'Leary needed little prompting to blame an increasingly crowded fixture list, reinforcing a view shared by many managers that international call- ups are now less a matter of prestige than a pain in the neck. "It is only right that there is a break before the international games but players needs time afterwards as well," he said.

"I had 13 players who weren't back with me until Thursday. Couldn't they have put today's programme back by 24 hours and played on Sunday instead?" Only by encroaching into the time the top clubs understandably require to ready themselves for Europe.

So something does have to give and sensibly it will be the size of the Premiership. Otherwise, do not count on the players bearing up under the strain. Here, the giving was largely on the part of defenders on both sides and in particular one goalkeeper, Magnus Hedman, who had kept his 15th clean sheet in 19 matches as Sweden's No 1 against Luxembourg last Wednesday only to suffer the kind of afternoon those in his trade dread.

It was Hedman's slow reaction that allowed Darren Huckerby, the former Coventry favourite, to open his Leeds account against his old club, bringing Leeds back to 2-2, and his challenge on Batty eight minutes later, when trying to redeem himself after fumbling a cross, that invited Leeds to take the lead through Ian Harte's penalty.

To cap it all, after Youssef Chippo's spectacular strike had squared it again, when Michael Bridges pounced to score the winning goal it was after Harry Kewell's shot had rebounded off the woodwork on to Hedman's back. England, their Euro 2000 hopes in Sweden's hands, will hope he has a better one against Poland in Stockholm next month.

Goals: McAllister pen (1) 1-0; Bowyer (7) 1-1; Aloisi (17) 2-1; Huckerby (25) 2-2; Harte (pen 33) 2-3; Chippo (54) 3-3; Bridges (60) 3-4.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Hedman; Quinn (Strachan, 75), Shaw, Williams, Edworthy; Hadji, McAllister, Chippo, Froggatt (McSheffrey, 75); Aloisi (Hall, 46), Keane. Substitutes not used: Konjic, Nuzzo (gk). Leeds United (4-4-2): Martyn; Mills, Radebe, Duberry (Woodgate, 54), Harte (Kelly, 62); Hopkin, Bowyer, Batty, Kewell; Bridges, Huckerby. Substitutes not used: Haaland, Jones, Robinson (gk).

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol). Bookings: Coventry: Hadji, Quinn, McAllister; Leeds: Hopkin, Mills.

Man of the match: Batty.

Attendance: 21,532.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
film
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Horticulture Lecturer / Tutor / Assessor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...

Retail Lecturer / Assessor / Tutor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Business Studies Tutor / Assessor / Lecturer - Tollerton

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried