Sam Allardyce criticised his substitutes for failing to step up against West Ham and admitted that Leeds, who are facing the prospect of relegation from the Premier League, will struggle to beat Tottenham on the final day of the season after losing Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo to injury.
Leeds would have moved out of the bottom three with a game to go if they had beaten West Ham and they looked to be on track when Rodrigo gave them the lead. But Allardyce’s side failed to hold on and remain two points behind Everton after losing 3-1 at the London Stadium. Everton host Bournemouth on the final day. Leicester, who visit Newcastle on Monday night, are a point below Leeds.
Allardyce was hugely disappointed with his side’s performance as West Ham hit back with goals from Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini. Leeds offered little fight and will be short of forwards against Spurs. Bamford went off with a hamstring injury and Rodrigo, who stayed on until the end, was struggling with a foot problem.
“Both of them are struggling badly. Rodrigo with a plantar fascia and Patrick with a hamstring and I have to say that the impact of the subs wasn’t as I expected,” Allardyce said of Brendan Aaronson, Wilfried Gnonto and Crysencio Summerville. “I expected a better impact from the subs so that gives me an even bigger look at the situation and the squad as a whole. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the subs made a difference today when we needed them.”
Allardyce was downbeat about his side’s hopes of beating Spurs. “It depends on the injuries that we have to Rodrigo and Patrick Bamford,” he said. “Who am I going to play up front if those two are missing? We might have to choose to play a completely different system with the players we’ve got available to create an opportunity to win a game. Certainly from a defensive point of view, we have to work to keep Harry Kane and Son [Heung-min] quiet.”
Allardyce has taken one point from three games since replacing Javi Gracia but he said he had no regrets over joining Leeds. “It’s a challenge of trying to do your best for the club,” he said. “Particularly this club when it’s worked so hard to get back in the Premier League. I can only try my best and give the players the right sort of instructions to show them how to win a game of football.
“Unfortunately that hasn’t worked yet. We have to try and get that to work on Sunday. It was always going to be a difficult task. Lots of people said how mad I am taking it, but I’m not mad. I just love football and Leeds United was too big a job to turn down for me.”