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
News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
News
people
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
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

PPC Account Managers

£25k - £30k (DOE): Guru Careers: Two expert PPC Account Managers are needed to...

Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

**Cover Supervisor's Urgently Required for Southport School's**

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Cover Supervisor's Urgently...

Year 3 Primary Teacher - Dewsbury

£110 - £155 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: An excellent, last minute opp...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor