Simon Grayson thanked Leeds United’s fans for their stoic support and admitted they put his players to shame after a sorry defeat at Southampton.United made the worst possible start to the new Championship season on Saturday, losing 3-1 at St Mary’s, but the club’s manager expressed his gratitude for the defiant backing he and his players received from a travelling crowd of 3,097. Southampton’s second goal on 25 minutes sparked vocal protests against Leeds chairman Ken Bates which continued throughout the game and reflected a growing mood of anger about the number of signings made during the close season.
However, the same fans chanted in support of Grayson and his players and the United boss urged his squad to draw inspiration from the “passion and energy” of Leeds’ fanbase.
Grayson said: “They’re very passionate about the club and if the players had shown half as much passion and energy as the supporters showed then we’d have competed a lot better.
“The fans are frustrated and we’re all frustrated, but it’s not as if they were booing the players or getting on their backs when passes went astray.
“How many other teams would be 3-0 down and have supporters singing their hearts out for them? They’re great to have.”
Grayson was critical of a toothless performance but spoke out in the defence of his squad, saying: “I still believe in this group of players