'In gentle words' - Leeds United tirade has to be smothered on 'hard to explain' disadvantage

Daniel Farke is furious with this week's schedule for Leeds United -Credit:MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Daniel Farke is furious with this week's schedule for Leeds United -Credit:MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Eight matches in 27 days were swallowed by Leeds United in an effort to avoid the congested soup they are currently being forced to ingest by Sky Sports. Far from an advantage in applying pressure to Ipswich Town, Daniel Farke sees this week’s schedule as an abomination for the Whites.

First, the broadcaster pushed the Middlesbrough trip back to Monday night, nine days after United’s previous match, but then brought tonight’s London visit forward, with only three clear days between. Patrick Bamford is one example of a player Leeds may lose, who would likely have been available for a Saturday or Sunday kick-off.

Farke had been asked if playing before the Tractor Boys was a major advantage when their top-two fate is not currently in Leeds hands. However, the German could not see it less like that.

READ MORE: Leeds United line-up vs QPR as late fitness tests hang over departure to London

He acknowledged the situation was not ideal for Ipswich either, who must play their final three matches in seven days after a fortnight off. Coventry City’s cup run forced that pile up, but Farke said Leeds put their January-February schedule at risk in order to have a clearer run-in.

Norwich City’s Elland Road visit was postponed due to FA Cup action, but rather than kick the can down the road, Leeds brought it forward and got it played three days ahead of schedule. It was one of eight games in a 27-day period for the Whites.

“Well if we win, yes [playing on Friday is an advantage], but overall, I have to say, with the schedule, we're not blessed if I'm really honest,” said Farke. “It's also hard to understand.

“We have, right now, lots of load. It's also the same for Ipswich, to play three games within seven days and, before, two weeks without a game. So it's also, for them, difficult, you have to be honest.

“This was due to, more or less, the cup run of Coventry and there was no other chance to play these fixtures. When I think about us, we took the decision earlier, when we had the cup run, we would do our postponed play against Norwich in the middle of the week when we have lots of load.

“We said ‘okay, come on, we accept this additional load, we have more load than all our competitors during this moment,’ in order to have then at least three normal weeks at the end of the season. We paid the price there.

“Then we head into the end of the season and what happens is, more or less, we have 10 days off. So, not a normal set-up, they postpone our game to Monday and then, all of a sudden, we have two away games within four days and this is something no one can explain to me why.”

Championship matches will have been played on eight different Mondays by the end of the season, though two of those were bank holidays. Farke may feel hard done by, but United’s Monday match was not the only one this season.

Sky could, though, have been more mindful of the stress on the Leeds players at such a critical phase of the season. Farke’s gentle way to describe it is ‘hard to explain.’

“There was no Monday kick-off in the whole season,” he said. “Normally [the league] always plays on Friday evenings. We were fully expecting, if this game would be picked against Middlesbrough by TV, then we play on Friday evening and then, perhaps, also again Friday evening against QPR.

“Why was it postponed to Monday, when we then have two away games within four days? This load affects, for example, the availability of some players, also the quick turnaround in terms of recovery. Why was this picked in this way, more or less the first time on the 44th and 45th gameday?

“Why do we have to play on Monday and then on Friday? It's hard to explain, but I have learned to adapt to the reality. This quick turnaround perhaps affects the availability of one or two players who had some knocks, but definitely not that we can’t play with full energy.

“We've done the right things in terms of recovery and most of the hours between the games should be enough, although we have much travel. We adapt to the situation and then don't complain about this and also don't use it as an excuse, but you definitely can't speak about an advantage we could put whatever pressure on other opponents.

“What happens during this season in terms of fixtures was, for us, at least hard to explain, if I put it in gentle words. This is also what this club is all about.

“We never do it the easy way and sometimes there are also some odds in our way. We have to make sure we put all the odds away in order to earn what we want to achieve. This is what we're trying to do.”