When it comes to Cup games like this you sometimes have to remember that you are behind before the game has even started.
Have a look at who you are facing and if the team is playing in a league much lower than yours you have to be ready for what is coming toward you. When we see matchups like Leeds vs Crawley, the bigger, more successful team needs to be more than ready to kick off with a really high tempo, score early and make sure they win every second ball because that is what the lower league teams would never let you get an easy run on.
I remember when I had just moved to England and I had to play a game against the teams that got promoted to the Premier League such as Bolton, and they made sure I was ready to take some elbows. It was not easy because the players made sure I felt like I was playing for my life. Every high ball was a moment for them to show they wanted to win this game. I would go up and even when I won the dual they left something behind that I had to deal with.
Did I need a few eyes stitches!
You can’t complain too much though, you just learn to get on with it. I remember one cold day I was playing away, I think against Stoke. It was so windy and every time they would cross the halfway line they would get ready to drop the ball in the box by a free-kick, a corner or throw-in. If you are leading then these games are fun but if they have the feeling they can win because it is still 0-0 or 0-1 for you, where you are not leading comfortably, they would go all the way with you up to the last minute.
This is what happened to Leeds United and they were not ready for the challenge that Crawley gave them. Leeds have had a good season in the Premier League so far and are 12th in the table just behind Arsenal, so they knew this was going to be a step down in quality with Crawley being in League 2.
I am sure Leeds players let their opponents easy still slip into their mind which happens to every player at some point. In the game Leeds were too comfortable and Crawley started to believe they could win more with every moment. This is what every pro has to deal with in his life. There is a day when you feel like it’s going to be an easy ride and then you go home with a big surprise.
It will be another big challenge next for Crawley, as they face Bournemouth in the next round. Crawley’s manager worked with Eddie Howe at Bournemouth for six years so knows the side very well! Bournemouth should have learnt from Leeds’ mistake but Crawley will have the momentum and will be ready to do anything to keep their run going. #mmlove