Farke dismisses Leeds play-off theory before Norwich reunion.
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Farke dismisses Leeds play-off theory before Norwich reunion.

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Leeds United have never earned promotion through the play-offs in five attempts, but Daniel Farke has encouraged his team to do well in the end-of-season lottery.

Leeds United manager Daniel Farke blasted the club’s poor play-off record after his side’s slim automatic promotion aspirations were shattered on the Championship’s final day.

A 2-1 defeat to Southampton at Elland Road was insignificant, as Ipswich sealed a top-two finish with an expected home win against Huddersfield.

Joel Piroe canceled out Adam Armstrong’s opener for Southampton, who recovered the lead before half-time through Will Smallbone, leaving Leeds in third position, one point ahead of the Saints.

Leeds have never earned promotion through the play-offs in five attempts, but despite last-day outcomes that left their fans fearful, Farke maintained his sense of humour.

He said, “Do you know what my record is in the playoffs? I’ve never lost a game, and I’ve never played in the playoffs, by the way.

“It does not matter. Leeds have lost in the play-offs previously, but it was a completely different group, and I was not in charge, so it makes no difference.

“Obviously we are here to change it. That’s the reason why I’m here.”

Leeds suffered their fourth defeat in six games during an uncharacteristic slump in form that allowed champions Leicester and Ipswich to finish in the top two. Farke’s team had a difficult start to the season after relegation, behind Leicester by 17 points at the turn of the year, before a 15-game undefeated streak propelled them into automatic promotion contention.

“If you said we’d finish on 90 points in third position, it wouldn’t be the worst,” he said. “Yes, it hasn’t felt like this for a few weeks.

“But in two days, we will be excited. What happened before is irrelevant. It’s a whole distinct group, with different individuals.

“We want to achieve something special here and doing this perhaps by being there for the first time in history with a good play-off outcome, yes I would take it.”

Leeds might still pay a big price with defeats to Coventry, Blackburn, QPR, and Southampton in the run-in. But Farke, whose team faces his former club Norwich City in the semi-finals, said: “I don’t think we’ve thrown it away.”

“Yes, it felt that with a better run-in it was possible, but to be honest, I think the reason why we are not in the top two is not the last four weeks, but the first two months.”

 

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