Leeds United-Fulham Preview
Javi Gracia says his Leeds United players are "suffering" following back-to-back demolitions at home to Crystal Palace and Liverpool, with the strugglers seeking a reaction at Fulham on Saturday.
Leeds looked to be pulling clear of the Premier League's bottom three when Gracia inspired wins over fellow strugglers Southampton, Wolves and Nottingham Forest, but they followed up a 5-1 loss to Palace with a dismal 6-1 defeat against Liverpool on Monday.
With Leeds two points clear of the relegation zone with seven games to play, Gracia said they must accept criticism from supporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Craven Cottage.
"You have to assess the situation with perspective," Gracia said. "We've competed well, we've got good results, but we now have to accept the criticism because there were some moments last week which were unacceptable. I understand that and I understand the point of view of some supporters, saying in some moments you can feel a lack of desire.
"I can understand that feeling 100 per cent, but I spend time with my players and I know how they are suffering. They want to change and I'm sure they're going to do it. I believe in these players and I'm sure we'll come back."
Fulham have already beaten Leeds twice this season, winning 3-2 in the league and 2-0 in the FA Cup.
As a top-flight side, the Cottagers have beaten a team three times in one season on three previous occasions – Blackburn Rovers in 1961-62, Charlton Athletic in 2002-03 and Norwich City in 2013-14.
Winger Willian, however, expects Leeds to show a reaction to their poor recent results.
"We have to expect that, because they are fighting down in the table," he said. "We need to be ready for this game, because it's going to be a tough one.
"As we know, in the Premier League there are no easy games to play, only difficult ones."
Fulham – Harry Wilson
In Fulham's 3-1 win against Everton last week, Wilson scored his first Premier League goal since January 2020, when he was representing Bournemouth. He is looking to score in consecutive top-flight games for the first time since his first two Premier League appearances in August 2019, and with Dan James ineligible and Aleksandar Mitrovic suspended, he could be Fulham's chief goal threat.
Leeds United – Luis Sinisterra
Having scored just two goals in his first 14 appearances in the Premier League, Sinisterra has since scored twice in his last three for Leeds. The Colombian has, however, only won one of the four games in which he has found the net in the competition (D1 L2), and he will be desperate to improve on that record.
- Following their 3-2 win at Elland Road in October, Fulham are looking to complete a league double over Leeds for the first time since 1959-60, when the Yorkshire side were relegated from the top-flight.
- Gracia's men are in deep trouble again this term, having conceded 16 goals in their four Premier League games in April – Leeds already hold the competition record for most goals conceded in a single calendar month, shipping 20 in February 2022.
- Only three teams have conceded more away goals than Leeds' 30 in the Premier League this season, with no side keeping fewer clean sheets on the road than the Whites (one).
Fulham 43.2 per cent
Leeds United 28.7 per cent
Draw 28.1 per cent
Updated April 21, 2023