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Page last updated at 09:46 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Leeds chief demands end to slump

Leeds United

Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey has challenged the players to reverse their recent run of poor form.

The League One side have lost their last four games and have fallen outside the play-off places.

Harvey told the club website: "When the players go out on to the pitch on a Saturday afternoon, they are the only ones who can influence things.

"We have to get things right and the players have got to start stepping up to the mark."

Three league defeats in a row have seen Leeds slip to eighth in the table, 12 points behind leaders Leicester, and Harvey's comments would seem to lay the blame with the players, rather than manager Gary McAllister.

"Gary is responsible for the players on a day-to-day basis and they work as a unit but even Gary loses control when it turns over to the players on the pitch," he said.

"He is there to guide, encourage and advise but ultimately if the issue is one of errors of an individual nature there is nothing anyone can do about that."

We don't want to be accepting a place in the play-offs because they can be a lottery

Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey

McAllister has come in for criticism from a section of fans, with some calling for a change at the top, but Harvey said the players should take most of the responsibility.

"The same players were good enough to get us towards the top of the table at the start of the season, playing football that everyone was excited to see.

"They need to rediscover that, they need to find the belief."

With some supporters questioning whether Leeds can repeat last season's play-off final place, Harvey insisted they still intend to go one better.

"We don't want to be accepting a place in the play-offs because they can be a lottery. We want to be in the top two.

"Our aspirations are that we be up there with Leicester - or even on top of the pile by now - going into a massive game here on Boxing Day."

He also tried to allay fears the club would sell some of their best players in January, with top scorer Jermaine Beckford inevitably attracting attention from other clubs.

"We have said previously that there will always be a time when it is right for a club to sell a player.

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"We don't need to sell but that does not mean we won't. But to put fans at ease, we are looking to add to our better players to get us out of this division.

"The better players and those who have been linked with moves away will only ever be going when we say so."

And he added that the club would be looking to add players to the squad, but only of the right calibre.

"We are playing League One football and getting players from the Premier League or the Championship, who still think they have something to offer at higher level, is difficult.

"If we can find the right players we will add to our squad and we will probably look to move a few players out but they will be players on the fringes."

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