Leeds United: Manager and players deserve credit for second-half display – Noel Whelan

Kemar Roofe

Kemar Roofe

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I THOUGHT that performance-wise, Saturday’s display at Wolves was a bit of a mixed bag.

Garry Monk will probably agree that the first half was a little bit sloppy with a little bit of careless passing.

There was not enough quality there really to hurt a team because Wolves are a good set-up – they work hard – but they were there for the taking.

We just didn’t really hit the right gear in the first 45 minutes to really hurt them and trouble them.

But in the second half it was completely different and I think Garry Monk kind of needed the half-time break to get the boys in and say ‘look, up your tempo, up your game and make your passing a little bit crisper’.We just needed to be a little bit more neater with the passing and take a little bit more care and just up that tempo a little bit more.

When we did that in the second half I felt that we controlled it pretty much and, in the end, there were some good performances all round. We competed and I think we kind of dominated the second half. For the stand-out performers, I think you have got to look at the two centre-halves once again – Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley.

They never really looked troubled.

They are strong, they are quick, they are dominant and they are the sort of centre-halves that people hate to play against. Now we have got a pair of them and they are honest and we seem to be having an honest side now, and when I say honest I mean hard-working, playing for each other and nobody is going out there to kid anybody and just do enough.

They are out there to get the three points and that’s a sign of a manager that’s bought right, it’s a sign of a manager that is getting the best out of the players and a sign that the players have got the right character to play for Leeds United. And we have got quality in there as well.

Ronaldo Vieira came into the side for us and he is a smashing young player and he is learning his trade at a good club under good management and with good, experienced players around. And don’t forget that we have still got another three big experienced players to come back in Liam Bridcutt, Stuart Dallas and Pablo Hernandez. But Vieira is in there, he is doing a job, he’s very mature for his age and I just feel that we have got lots of energy in the side.

They are all honest lads, they are all going about their business the right way and we have added a bit of aggression to our game now which is a must to win any kind of game in the Championship.

And, like Garry said, we can compete with any side now. That is true, but there are very fine margins between winning and losing and drawing games, which we found out sadly against Derby and against Wigan in midweek. But we got on the right side of the result on Saturday and we got what we deserved, I think.

Kemar Roofe looked to have scored the winner at first and I have been really impressed with him.

I have always questioned whether he can make the step up because it is a big step up from League Two. It isn’t easy and it’s going to take him a little bit of time to get used to the pace of the Championship and strength. But I think he went back to basics on his game on Saturday.

He controlled his performance, he held the ball up well, he read it at the right times in the right areas and he did the horrible side of the game as well.

Yes, he didn’t score the goal but without that run that he made, that pass from Hadi Sacko would not have come into that area so you have got to give him every bit of credit.

It’s just as good as scoring a goal because he ran into the right area and he bust a gut to get in there as well from the wide area to get into the middle and into the six-yard box.

It might not be his goal technically but it really is because he made that goal, along with Sacko with a lovely ball into the right area.

We talk about getting the ball right into the final third and where it is going to hurt teams and that was the right ball, with the right run.

It was excellent from both players but it started with that great pass from Bartley and he has done that many, many times before – into that corner area.

The pace of Sacko troubles anybody, any defender, and we have also got people that are willing to make that 20-yard run into the box to give him something to aim for. Credit to all of them.

Chris Wood is challenged by Sol Bamba.

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