Tom Adeyemi praised Leeds United for redeeming their sorry performance at Queens Park Rangers after his first-half goal settled a lively derby against Hull City.
The midfielder, who was recalled to Leeds’ starting line-up after a four-match absence, said United’s squad had “tried our best to prove the supporters wrong” in the aftermath of a fractious 1-0 loss to QPR seven days earlier.
Head coach Steve Evans and his players were berated by a large away crowd at Loftus Road but responded impressively on Saturday by ending an eventful week with a 2-1 win over Steve Bruce’s Hull at Elland Road.
Adeyemi’s strike, giving Leeds a 2-0 advantage just before the interval, rounded off a convincing first half which United dominated and Bruce later described as “arguably the worst of my reign.”
Evans’ side withstood heavy pressure from fourth-placed Hull in the second 45 minutes, holding out for a valuable victory which opened up a six-point gap over the division’s bottom three.
Adeyemi said: “Fans are entitled to their opinion so it’s not for me to say if what happened last week was right or wrong. It was disappointing to hear but maybe that spurred us on to beat Hull.
“Maybe we tried our best to prove them wrong.
“The fans were great and really got behind us. When they do that there are no other fans like them in the league.
“We’re all here trying to do our best for Leeds United. It’s important we all pull in the same direction. As long as that happens we can be a force in this division.”
The lead-up to Saturday’s Yorkshire derby was dominated by frustration over the introduction of a £5 food-and-drink levy – dubbed the “pie tax” – on adult ticket prices in the South Stand.
A mass walk-out planned by fans in that area of Elland Road failed to materialise, however, and Evans thanked the crowd for their backing afterwards, describing it as “stunning”.
Evans, who was last week forced to deny reports that owner Massimo Cellino had made his entire squad available for transfer in January, hit out at further claims that the Italian tried to interfere with his tactics during the defeat to QPR.
Asked to comment on suggestions that Cellino had ordered a tactical rethink at half-time in that game, Evans defended his owner and said the alleged interference “simply never happened”.
He and United’s players shut out the off-field distractions – including the news that defender Sam Byram had turned down the offer of a new contract – to claim their fifth win of the Championship season.
Chris Wood’s seventh goal of the term and Adeyemi’s close-range finish gave United a strong lead and Hull were unable to force an equaliser after Ahmed Elmohamady headed home a 51st-minute effort for City.
Adeyemi said: “Our job is to focus on the football.
“Leeds United are probably getting a bit more attention than other clubs in the Championship but for us we just get on with it.
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“We’re not happy with how the season has gone on the pitch but we’re doing all we can to rectify it.
“It’s hard to say what we’re capable of. You look at the performance and result against Hull and you think we’re capable of beating anyone. But then you look at us losing at home to Rotherham and you can say we’re in a bit of trouble. It’s all about consistency.”