Preservation, not performance, is the modus operandi for Dennis Wise this season and there was a grim illustration of his sizeable task last night at Burnley, where Leeds failed on both counts.
They proved unable to produce a performance and the dismissal of the defender Hayden Foxe left them incapable of keeping a clean sheet too as Burnley's recent problems - confirmation of a £2.1m debt and three straight defeats - were placed into stark perspective by the continued trials of Elland Road.
Steve Cotterill's side were the more dangerous long before Foxe received his second yellow card seven minutes after the restart, and though both managers cited the dismissal as the turning point it was surely to protect his players' fragile confidence that Wise pinned the blame for defeat exclusively, and unfairly, on the referee Phil Dowd.
"He originally booked Hayden for a foul that was similar to several tackles by Burnley players and yet he didn't book them. I don't understand where he only got four minutes of stoppage time from either," insisted the Leeds manager, who was right to be aggrieved at the lack of injury time, given that was the only time his side attacked with any venom.
Burnley prospered whenever they kept the ball on the floor, while Leeds had produced little before Foxe invited a second yellow card when, having felled Jones in the 22nd minute, he deliberately handled with the home side on the break.
They took advantage ruthlessly. Gifton Noel-Williams plundered from close range after a cross deflected into his path and, two minutes later, Andy Gray spun on the edge of the box and delivered a neat finish into the corner before departing with what looked a serious ankle injury. Wise brought on three forwards, and was rewarded when David Healy scored with a deflected drive three minutes from time. Leeds, however, deserved nothing more.
Burnley (4-4-2): Coyne; Thomas, Duff, McGreal, Harley; Elliott (Mahon, 86), O'Connor, Hyde, Jones; Gray (Lafferty, 88), Noel-Williams. Substitutes not used: Jensen (gk), McCann, Foster.
Leeds United (4-4-2): Stack; Foxe, Ehiogu, Heath, Crainey; Douglas, Derry, Westlake, Lewis (Horsfield, 72); Moore (Healy, 72), Blake (Kandol, 53). Substitutes not used: Carole, Warner (gk).
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).Reuse content