LEEDS UNITED head coach Neil Redfearn saluted an outstanding performance from his Whites side after a famous 1-0 victory at title-chasing Middlesbrough.
United, who went ahead in the third minute following Alex Mowatt’s sixth goal of the season, withstood everything that Boro threw at them to claim their fifth win in their past six outings as their blossoming New Year renaissance continued.
It helped Leeds record a third successive win away from home in the league for the first time since November 2011 on a remarkable afternoon for Redfearn’s side, who became the first visiting team to win at the Riverside Stadium since the end of August.
On his side’s showing, a delighted Redfearn said: “It was an outstanding performance and I think that was down to the work-rate, diligence and organisation.
“I also felt we played some great football in between and if you at it, on the face of it, we could have had two or three more goals with the chances we made.
“But they are a good side, no two ways about it. They had us on the ropes at times and we had to defend - and we did.
“The stat that mattered is 1-0. That’s the most important stat and it’s another clean sheet, which is important.
“There was a real togetherness and desire to want to win. To be honest, if we’d played on another ten or 15 minutes, I don’t think they would have scored because we had that desire about us.”
Leeds handled a siege at times from Boro and despite nine minutes of stoppage time following a late injury to home striker Jelle Vossen, the Teessiders, previously unbeaten in nine outings in the league and seeking their sixth successive Championship win, could find no way through.
Leeds’ resolve was typified by an outstanding defensive display by Sol Bamba, with several others not far behind, with Marco Silvestri also in excellent form between the posts.
Redfearn said: “I looked at all of the players and the chasing back and covering back and somebody filling in when someone went forward was terrific.
“There was a real togetherness and we sensed danger and when we were under pressure in the box, we got bodies in the way and blocks in and people were brave.
“That is what being a successive side is all about.”
The only downer to the afternoon was Giuseppe’s Bellusci’s tenth yellow card of the season, which rules him out of United’s next two matches.