Aidan White claimed the “buzz” had returned to Leeds United after their Championship season began with a rousing win over Wolves.
The left-back revelled in a rejuvenated atmosphere at Elland Road as a header from Luciano Becchio condemned Wolves to a 1-0 defeat and gave Leeds the perfect start to the new term.
Leeds lost 11 league matches at home during the 2011-12 season – an unwanted club record – but their convincing display in front of a crowd of 23,745 earned a valuable victory against a side relegated from the Premier League but largely devoid of spirt and urgency.
The scoreline and performance was in contrast to United’s first league result 12 months ago when the club were heavily beaten at Southampton, and White credited the optimistic air on Saturday to the mood built up in Neil Warnock’s squad during the weeks of pre-season. Seven new signings made their league debuts against Wolves.
White said: “There’s a little buzz around the place again and we worked hard to get that, not just on the pitch but off it as well.
“When we were down in Cornwall (for United’s summer tour) it was a good chance to bond. That where you start to develop that buzz. The players take it out on to the pitch and the fans can see it. It all grows from there.
“Last season what happened on the pitch here didn’t help the crowd. They come to Elland Road to see results, good performances and to be entertained. A lot of the time we weren’t there were we? It was always difficult. But for the manager it’s all been about building towards this season.
“Maybe the mood is down to the manager or maybe it’s down to the new signings. We had a big clear out squad wise and the players who’ve come in have been excellent. It might be that the fans are getting a buzz off them.
“But last season, Southampton away – I didn’t even travel to that game, I was at Farsley playing in the reserves. I’ve come a long way and so have the team.”
United dominated the first half on Saturday, taking the lead through Becchio’s goal, and looked comfortable for more than an hour but Warnock’s side endured a tense closing period as Wolves took a grip of the game for the first time.
White, who came under intense pressure from visiting substitute Slawomir Peszko after half-time, said: “I don’t think the second half against Wolves was great at all. It was very direct and we were penned in for a lot of it.
“But we saw it out and I think the crowd appreciate performances like that. You’re not always going to get a 5-0 win where you batter the other team. Sometimes you have to dig deep.
“One game isn’t much to judge a team on because you can play well one game, play not so well the next but Wolves are a fantastic side and as a player who’s out there and in the team, I’m confident we’ll crack on now. I’m confident we can do this every game.
“We were desperate for three points and the gaffer’s spoken about it all pre-season – basically saying that when Wolves came here, they won’t know what’s hit them.”
Asked if he thought Leeds had the potential to finish higher than the Championship play-offs, the 20-year-old said: “I wouldn’t put any limits on what we can do.
“Confidence is high and the play-offs would be fantastic but our aim is to get promotion. And with the players who are here, why not? Hopefully we’ll go on a run now.”