Leeds maintained their impressive run with a hard-fought 3-0. I say hard because the first half it was hard to see who was the team in the bottom three and the one chasing promotion.
The win kept Leeds in the top five, a late winner for Huddersfield Town and an astounding comeback by Reading kept those teams ahead of us.
Garry Monk made three changes from the team that played in the 1-1 draw at Villa; Kyle Bartley, Pablo Hernandez and Chris Wood restored to the starting XI. Cooper, Vieira and Dallas stepped down to the substitutes bench.
A ‘buzzing’ Elland Road was expectant of a rousing win to start off the new year, the Centenary bar outside was awash with smiling faces, with fellow columnist David Watkins enjoying the customary pre-match pint. It’s so good that performances on the field have given the faithful a smile on their faces and the best thing is seeing the next generation of fans in abundance around Leeds 11.
The first half disappointed, too many passes going astray and it was the away side that so nearly went in front, the shot that thumped a post leaving Leeds fans slightly worried. Even after a poor first half no boos greeted the referee’s whistle at the break, encouragement was offered as the players left the field.
Ronaldo Vieira restored balance in the Leeds engine room and within minutes they were ahead, a bullet header from Kyle Bartley taking his tally to four for the season.
Leeds then started to play with style and it was only a matter of time that the lead was increased by Chris Wood, his 15th and 16th goals increasing the lead to three.
Plenty of ‘olés’ were heard as Leeds totally controlled the second period, even Berardi, up from left-back, smacked the post as Leeds threatened to run riot against the bottom club. Hernandez too took paint off a post with a late free kick.
A very satisfying win.
Leeds for so long has been been a vibrant city with a team that promised much but failed to deliver.
Now that has changed and the ambitions of the club run parallel with it’s home city.
It’s so good at the moment and long shall it continue.
Man of the match: Kemar Roofe.
I was the only one on the YEP fans’ jury who thought Leeds would get four goals against Rotherham… everyone else correctly forecast that we’d get the three!
But the interesting thing is not that I got it wrong but rather that once again Leeds actually did what they were supposed to: they comfortably beat the worst side in the Championship.
The sign of a top side is exactly that – they compete against the best in the division and they dispose of the worst.
In seasons past, even when we’ve been on a good run, we would often come unstuck against supposedly poorer teams than ourselves.
Let’s hope we’ve seen the last of the slip-ups.
Once again Leeds started slowly and there was a case for saying that the Millers were actually the better of two poor sides in the first half.
But in the second half it all came together and, without being quite as powerful a performance as we showed at Villa Park, it was never less than an efficient display.
All the signs are that, unless someone rocks the boat, we are sailing somewhere quite exciting!
Man of the match: Chris Wood.
Leeds’ starting 4-3-1-2 line-up didn’t work. In the second half the energetic and tenacious Vieira came in for Sacko with Roofe moving out wide.
This format suited Leeds much better and it wasn’t long before United were three up!
Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.
There’s a noticeable pattern this season of underwhelming first halves where United merely stay in the game before picking up the points after the break. Monday took that to a new extreme.
Rotherham must have felt confident they could grab something from the game at half-time but that notion was quickly destroyed by the clever passing and direct attacking we showed in the second half.
Ronaldo Vieira’s introduction made a big difference and it was an easy win in the end that could have easily been 5-0 had Berardi and Hernandez squeezed shots inside the woodwork. Still sitting fifth shows we need to maintain this form but there’s nothing to suggest we won’t.
Man of the match: Liam Bridcutt.
NO-ONE could have predicted the second-half transformation from a lethargic and almost complacent first half against Rotherham.
Massive credit must go to coach Garry Monk who quickly sorted things out at half-time.
Man of the match: Ronaldo Vieira.
The Leeds United juggernaut continues to roll as we enter 2017, with the Whites brushing aside Rotherham United to maintain their place in the top six of the Championship.
Leeds simply stepped up a gear in the second half and scored three fabulous goals to blow apart any semblance of resistance from the struggling Millers.
Once Kyle Bartley had headed Garry Monk’s side in front straight after the restart, Leeds’ confidence just grew and grew, and for once they put the game to bed with a degree of comfort, Chris Wood celebrating his return with two goals.
The FA Cup and Derby in the League next but Leeds should not be worried about anyone.
Man of the match: Chris Wood.