Micah Richards singles out Leeds United star in 'disappointing' Southampton defeat

Micah Richards labelled Leeds United's performance against Southampton as disappointing in the Championship play-off final
-Credit: (Image: YouTube/The Rest is Football)


Micah Richards has criticised Leeds United forward Wilfried Gnonto for his display in the Championship play-off final against Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

The Whites suffered defeat at Wembley once again having last visited the national stadium 16 years ago in the League One play-off final, losing to Doncaster Rovers 1-0. And Daniel Farke 's current crop lost by that same scoreline as Adam Armstrong's first-half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides.

Daniel James came closest for the the Yorkshire club on two separate occasions. The Welshman first saw an effort thunder back off the crossbar before Alex McCarthy dived low to his left to deny another goal-bound strike from the 26-year-old.

It proved to be a disappointing afternoon for Leeds' forward players, with Farke starting the fixture with an attacking quartet of Crysencio Summerville, Joel Piroe, Georginio Rutter and Gnonto who had amassed 52 goals between them throughout the campaign. However, it proved to be James' introduction that sparked the Whites' attacking threat into life, but it proved to be too little, too late.

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There was widespread criticism of the Leeds players following the full-time whistle, with Troy Deeney picking out four or five of Farke's squad who showed no respect to their opponents after their defeat was confirmed. But one player has been named by Richards for his performance under the Wembley arch.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Rest Is Football podcast alongside Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker, Richards singled out Gnonto for continuing to come inside when the space appeared to be out wide. The initial conversation started with former Saints striker, Shearer, labelling Leeds' performance as poor and revealing the key difference between the two sides on the afternoon.

“I watched it all and I thought they (Southampton) deserved it. I thought Leeds were really poor, had nothing up front and Southampton had Adam Armstrong.

“20 odd goals this season. He’s a Geordie boy doing well down south and he was the difference. He had that one opportunity and he stuck it away and Leeds didn’t have anything in return did they Micah?

The former Aston Villa defender continued the conversation, admitting that Leeds missed the presence of Patrick Bamford, who missed the contest with a knee injury. He said: “They didn’t have anything and I was surprised because in the two-legged semis they were brilliant, well in the second leg of the semis I should say.

“They just didn’t turn up. I think they missed Bamford holding up the ball and I think Rutter did not have the best of games. It was strange because on the right-hand side of the pitch there was so much space, but Gnonto kept going inside and I was like, ‘stay wide and try and beat your man’.

“Until Dan James came on in the second half, they had just run out of ideas. Obviously, they had that chance with James when he hit the bar as well, but I was very disappointed with Leeds because I could hear the fans all day.

“I was staying by the station at Kings Cross, and they had been singing all morning and I thought they would take that extra sort of energy to Wembley, but it just didn’t transpire to the pitch which is disappointing. I really thought Leeds could do it on the day.”