Neil Warnock claimed Leeds United’s troubles were behind them after a thrilling victory over Huddersfield Town moved the club back into the top half of the Championship.
A first win at Huddersfield since 1963 continued United’s mid-season revival, with two goals from Luciano Becchio and one apiece from Michael Tonge and David Norris earning Leeds a third straight Championship success.
Their burst of form has come on the back of a seven-game winless streak and a spell of deep uncertainty which threatened to rule the Elland Road side out of the running for promotion.
Warnock, who turned 64 on Saturday, admitted the atmosphere at United had been transformed by a fortnight in which the club secured new owners, signed Jerome Thomas and Alan Tate on loan and inflicted convincing defeats on Huddersfield, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
“The mood’s changed completely,” said Warnock after Leeds’ 4-2 win. “You can see that the pressure on everyone’s lifted and the doom-and-gloom merchants have gone.
“We haven’t just won these three games. We’ve deserved to win them. We look like a team who are going to win games in this league and 10 days ago I couldn’t honestly have said that.
“We were the better side (against Huddersfield) and there’s a confidence about the players now. Everything’s positive again.”
Second-half strikes from Norris and Becchio settled a lively West Yorkshire derby and gave Leeds a rare victory at Huddersfield.
Warnock again credited the improvement in Leeds’ form to the signing of Thomas and Tate and the agreement which ended almost seven months of takeover talks between Dubai-based GFH Capital and current Leeds owner Ken Bates.
Thomas and Tate came to Elland Road on the last day of the emergency loan window, and Warnock said: “Deadline day was pivotal for me. I couldn’t see another point coming, not without an influx of players. It wasn’t looking good.
“To get Tate and Thomas and have new owners coming in was such a breath of fresh air. You could feel it hitting everybody.
“I know the takeover shouldn’t have affected the players but it has done. Some of the lads have said to me that they didn’t feel right with everything that was going on and all the uncertainty and apprehension. It was almost like there was only one way of getting rid of it and that was for the takeover to go through.
“In football you get feelings about things and as soon as the Thomas deal came in a couple of hours after Tate I thought ‘we’ve got a chance now’. They’re not massive changes but the effect on everyone was huge.”