Sometimes, football games can disappoint after the build-up to them goes into overdrive before a ball is even kicked.
Indeed, there are plenty of matches through every season where the pressure of what is at stake proves too much and the quality of the game suffers.
Last night, though, we saw what can happen when two sides go for it despite what can be lost, as Leeds and Derby played out a genuine classic at Elland Road.
Going into the second leg of the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final it was Leeds in the driving seat, but Derby – despite going 2-0 down on aggregate – rallied and got themselves to Wembley by winning the tie 4-3.
A cracking game but another desperate night for the long-suffering fans of the home side, who are resigned to another year of Championship football at the very least.
Let’s take a look, then, at what we learned about the Whites and their players last night…
Let’s start with the positives…
We’ll kick-off with a positive we took from the match as, for the blow that the result was, there were still some good things to take from it.
When it mattered, Stuart Dallas looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck and drag Leeds out of it.
He’s had his critics but here, whilst others crumbled, he showed he’s a man for the big occasion – worth remembering perhaps for next season.
Burnout no burden
Mention burnout Marcelo Bielsa and you get an ice-cold stare – you can see why now.
Whilst Leeds didn’t exactly perform to their highest level, they never really looked tired – even with 10 men.
Coming at the end of a long season, the effort and desire were there – they, or some of them, just lost their heads at crucial times.
Mentality questions posed again
The old Leeds bottling it bandwagon rolled on once again on social media.
Of course, that is a little harsh as this Leeds side has shown far more mental strength than those in the past, winning big games and dealing with a growing sense of expectation better than in many recent seasons.
The fact is, though, at the penultimate hurdle a few did still fall short and so questions will be asked.
The answers to them, then, will be delivered next season as, as we look at these lessons, Leeds will have to learn from last night – it was unchartered territory for many after all.
Do that, and they’ll be fine next year.Like what the FLW have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!