Leeds United: Wood vows to win over the Whites fans

Chris Wood celebrates his goal at Sheffield Wednesday.
Chris Wood celebrates his goal at Sheffield Wednesday.
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Chris Wood vowed to win over Leeds United’s crowd and said he had put the frustration of last week behind him after his second goal in two league games sealed a derby win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Wood tapped home an 85th-minute finish to seal a 2-0 victory at Hillsborough and follow up his overhead kick and choice celebration in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Fulham. The striker responded to criticism of him by United’s fans by cupping his ear to Elland Road’s Kop after his 93rd-minute equaliser snatched a point from the visit of Fulham.

His close-range effort in front of the away end on Saturday, however, sparked a collective reaction as Leeds and head coach Garry Monk earned their first Championship win of the season against last season’s beaten play-off finalists.

Wood, who has carried a £3million price tag since joining United from Leicester City last summer, said his celebration in the Fulham clash had been a response to scrutiny of his form by the club’s supporters – admitting it was something he had “never experienced before.”

“It’s frustration,” Wood said. “I just want to please them and do well for them. I go out on the pitch to do my best and give my all for them. That’s all I want to come across.

“It’s tough and of course you hear (criticism) all the time. But it’s one of those things. You have to get on with it.

“I guess not everybody’s going to like you and that’s the case for any footballer. You’re not going to win over 40,000 fans but I’m still young and learning that side of it. I’ve never experienced it before.

“I’m happy with where I’m at now and I want to put it to bed. It was nice to score straight in front of them and they gave me a great reception. It’s nice to give something back.”

United scored twice in the second half at Hillsborough, drawing first blood through Marcus Antonsson and sealing a deserved win when Wood met Kemar Roofe’s low cross with a clinical effort.

Monk went into the Yorkshire derby on the back of two defeats and a draw in his first three league games as head coach and reports suggestion that his position at Elland Road was already under threat from owner Massimo Cellino.

Wood, however, gave the former Swansea City boss a glowing reference, saying: “He’ll be unbelievable for this club. I think he’s the one to take us to the next level. He’s a great manager in my opinion. We’re very lucky to have him here.

“If we improve every game then we’ll definitely be up there. It is one of those things; we have a new manager and new players and it’s going to take time to click. It hasn’t clicked that well in the first six weeks. We hoped it would from pre-season but sometimes it takes longer. We’re not fully where we need to be, we know that, but over the course of the season we’re going to get stronger and stronger.”

The return of midfielder Liam Bridcutt following his move from Sunderland made a noticeable difference to Leeds’ performance in Sheffield and Swedish centre-back Pontus Jansson – signed on Thursday on loan from Torino – is hoping to feature in tomorrow’s League Cup tie at Luton Town after failing to make the 18 against Sheffield Wednesday.

Asked if United needed more new players before the transfer window closed a week on Wednesday, Wood said: “I don’t know. We’ve strengthened quite well and in every area. We have good numbers.

“The gaffer will be looking to see if there’s anything out of ordinary that we can take advantage of to improve the squad but I think we’ve got a great squad and one that can push up the table.”

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BACKING: For Gjanni Alioski, right, pictured with Kalvin Phillips.

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