Williams proud as Orient match league leaders
LEYTON ORIENT manager Geraint Williams jumped to the defence of his players after they suffered last-gasp heartbreak at Leeds on Tuesday night. The O s had pushed the League One pacesetters all the way, but in the 89th minute on-loan Max Gradel struck to
LEYTON ORIENT manager Geraint Williams jumped to the defence of his players after they suffered last-gasp heartbreak at Leeds on Tuesday night.
The O's had pushed the League One pacesetters all the way, but in the 89th minute on-loan Max Gradel struck to sink the east Londoners with the only goal.
Williams felt his players deserved more for their efforts. "It's a sickener to lose so late on, but first and foremost I'm very proud of the performance," he said.
"It was a fantastic 90 minutes, from first to last, and we're not just disappointed to have lost, we're disappointed not to have got at least a point and maybe all three.
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"We defended very well, everyone did their jobs and when we got the ball we played football."
Buoyed by their 2-1 win over Tranmere at the weekend the O's took the game to Simon Grayson's men at Elland Road.
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Williams deployed a five-man midfield and the boss was pleased with how it worked.
"We looked dangerous going forward and created one or two very good openings before half time. We could have and maybe should have taken at least one," said the Brisbane Road chief.
"It's a flexible system. It can be 4-3-3, 4-5-1, 4-1-4-1. We decided that we wanted to be nice and solid.
"We were coming to the table-toppers, so we didn't want to be out of the game before it started.
"We didn't come here to sit back and defend for 90 minutes though - you can't do that. What we did was be nice and solid and break forward with good energy and pace, creating good openings."
And the attacking approach looked to have paid off when the visitors thought they had taken the lead through Sean Thornton, but it was ruled out on the grounds that Andros Townsend had taken his free kick too quickly.
With just a minute to play, substitute Gradel sealed victory for Leeds when he turned and fired home from 12 yards.
The Yorkshire side have now gone 20 home games without defeat, while the O's hover three points above the drop zone.
Williams remained positive in the face of defeat though. "Everyone in a red shirt was magnificent, as were all the followers who came up," he said.
"We deserved a point for our effort, our skill and the way we set our minds about the job. We're disappointed that we've come away with nothing, but we know that if we're right we can compete and beat anyone."
On Tuesday evening, Orient host 15th placed Gillingham in League One, in what will be another important match.