Leeds United boss Brian McDermott has told his players that nobody is guaranteed a place in his starting eleven as the season draws nearer, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post.
McDermott made it clear that first-team places were still up for grabs ahead of their Championship opener against Brighton in 11 days time, challenging his players to up their performances in their final two friendlies.
“It’s up for grabs (for the Brighton game), and we need to nail that down and take it for the first game of the season,” said McDermott.
McDermott is set to make a string of changes from the side that slumped to a disappointing defeat to Walsall last time out, with every player to be given an opportunity this week.
“There will be different players playing on Tuesday. I think what we have got now is that every player has played a certain amount of game time, but obviously come the Nurnberg game things will change again,” McDermott explained.
He then added: “And then we’ll try and settle the team down and get a team that is going to play for a certain amount of time and everyone is fighting for places."
The Leeds manager criticised the lack of energy and work rate shown by his team during the defeat, something he insists they improve on before the season gets under way.
“The thing for me is that we have to be much, much better without the ball. We have to make sure that when the opposition has the ball, we get in their faces and we have to close down and that’s what we worked on in training on Monday,” McDermott said.
“I know these guys can pass it and are good players, but without the ball we have to be much better.
“When the ball goes dead we have to remain switched on and everything about that and the details will be nailed down in the next 10 days or so."
McDermott joined Leeds in April this year after he was sacked by Reading, and helped steer the club to a mid-table finish at the end of last season.
Leeds face Stevenage tonight in their next friendly, before a home game with Nurnberg on Saturday.
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