'Absolutely ridiculous' - Pundit blasts City defender's mistake against Leeds

Jack Harrison of Leeds United, Ozan Kabak of Norwich and Kalvin Phillips of Leeds United in action d

Ozan Kabak during one of his charges forward during Norwich City's defeat to Leeds - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ozan Kabak’s mistake in the build-up to Leeds’ winner against Norwich City was blasted as ‘absolutely ridiculous’ in the post-game analysis on Match of the Day Two. 

Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was alongside former Canaries striker Dion Dublin for punditry duty and was not at all impressed by the decision making of 21-year-old Kabak, who was on loan at Liverpool last season.

Wilder led the Blades from League One to ninth in the Premier League but then saw that fall apart as they finished bottom on 23 points last season. 

He highlighted Turkey international Kabak’s attempt to spin on the ball as he tried to evade a challenge, less than three minutes after Andrew Omobamidele had equalised, which allowed Rodrigo to fire a dipping shot which Tim Krul misjudged. 

“Off the back of a 7-0 defeat you want to simplify, to make it as simple as possible for the players,” said Wilder. 

“I thought the crowd were excellent, they got right behind them. They got off to a decent start, got a foothold in the game, obviously disappointing in terms of the first goal. 

“They get themselves back in the game with the young boy with the header, a bittersweet afternoon for him. 

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“And this (Kabak’s attempted turn), for me, is absolutely ridiculous. As a defender, simplify the game, be reliable. 

“They’re all in a good position, he steps in, great, and there you go, two (Leeds) midfield players go and press - there’s a ball into the centre-forward Pukki, or to Dowell, or to Sargent.  

“Then one mistake leads to two. I felt sorry for Tim Krul because he’s an outstanding goalkeeper and he owns the mistake.” 

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As the error was replayed again, Wilder repeated: “That’s just ridiculous. He’s got three passes to make and he doesn’t make them – and the momentum from that moment swung Leeds’ away and I thought it was a difficult last 30 minutes for Norwich.” 

Dublin concluded: “Five or six players had their hands on their heads there, as if to say, we’ve got back into it, our centre-half has got us the goal – just do the safe things, get back into the game, don’t complicate it.” 

An eighth defeat in 10 matches has left City bottom and eight points from the last survival spot already, having only scored three goals but conceded 25. 

That’s despite a busy summer transfer window that brought nine new players to the club following promotion, with an outlay of around £60million following the club-record sale of Player of the Season winner Emi Buendia to Aston Villa in a £38m deal. 

Over £20m more could follow if add-ons are activated and the loans of Mathias Normann and Ozan Kabak are made permanent but much of that is tied to Premier League survival, which is already looking difficult. 

“There are some good players there, they’ve spent some good money as well,” Dublin said, as a list of City’s signings was shown. 

“But when you go out of the Premier League and go back in, when you go back it’s got better, squads have got better.” 

Wilder picked up the thread, saying: “It’s as strong as it has ever been and it will keep getting stronger and stronger.  

“You have to show that loyalty in the first year when you win the Championship (in 2019), then off the back of that they make another decision the next time they get promoted. 

“But for me it’s not just the fees they pay, it’s the wages. You’re talking about big clubs, middle of the road clubs or even the clubs at the bottom of the league spending, 80, 90 or 100,000 (per week contracts), even 120 or 140,000 - when you’ve got a wage structure to work to. 

“They’ve got to balance that up because there is no wealthy benefactor and you’ve got to talk about what sort of football club you want, do you want this massive gamble and put ourselves in a position that we can’t recover from? 

“There have been plenty of clubs that have done that, taken a huge gamble and then they slide down the leagues and find themselves in League One.” 

The BBC pundits also highlighted Brazil international Raphinha as the game’s outstanding player and Daniel Farke’s decision to deploy 19-year-old Omobamidele at left-back. 

“I really felt for Omobamidele at left-back,” said Dublin, City’s 2008 Player of the Season. “He’s not a left-sider at all, he’s a centre-half and was isolated with the best player on the pitch. 

“Raphinha’s movement and knowledge of that right side of the game, he knew he was playing against an inexperienced left-sided player – and he had him on toast all day.” 

With a sympathetic tone, Wilder added: “I think if he was playing against an experienced full-back, he would have caused him problems, but I felt especially sorry for the young man because he’s played right centre-half earlier in the season. 

“To go and play in that position, it was a difficult afternoon for him.” 

- You can watch the full Match of the Day Two analysis on the BBC iPlayer 

NCFC EXTRA: Norwich City defender downcast after ‘very special’ moment is wasted