Leeds United 1 Brentford 0: Heckingbottom's influence seen in '˜professional' performance - YEP jury

Relieved Yorkshire Evening Post jurors were also impressed with the renewed team spirit and never-say-die attitude that head coach Paul Heckingbottom appears to have restored at Elland Road.

Monday, 26th February 2018, 8:36 am
Updated Monday, 26th February 2018, 8:40 am
Liam Cooper, is congratulated by team-mates Kalvin Phillips and Gjanni Alioski. PIC: Simon Hulme

Here what they had to say about the weekend win over Brentford.

Matthew Evans

At last, a win for Leeds United that has been well overdue and a professional performance against a Brentford side that took us apart in the reverse fixture.

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This was more of an evolution of Wednesday night’s performance helped immeasurably by Samu Saiz making the starting line up.

It was easy to think the worst when Adam Forshaw wasn’t involved.

But it was a disciplined performance where we found ourselves on the right side of the fine margins at last.

Even Felix Wiedwald, slated during midweek, made some good contributions and an excellent save at 0-0.

Stuart Dallas and Gjanni Alioski both had very good games out wide.

Paul Heckingbottom has certainly made a difference to the attitude and spirit of the side so far.

And a win away at Middlesbrough on Friday will put us right back in the play-off hunt.

A relief to come away from Elland Road with all three points after such a bad run.

Man of the match: Samuel Saiz.

Keith Ingham

Leeds United removed a rather large monkey off their backs thanks to Liam Cooper’s first-half headed goal that gave them their first three points since Boxing Day.

It wasn’t perfect or pretty but it was the win the club and Paul Heckingbottom needed. Vurnon Anita, Eunan O’Kane, Kalvin Phillips and Ezgjan Alioski came into the line-up; Ronaldo Vieira was dropped to the bench. Adam Forshaw was absent due to his wife’s early labour, Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe were out injured. Laurens De Boch wasn’t involved in the 18 after a poor display at Derby in midweek.

There have been many games at Elland Road similar to this one – Norwich and Hull come to mind – when the result was more important than the performance. A clean sheet was also a bonus after recent defensive frailties.

It was the visitors that showed first but Felix Wiedwald saved splendidly from Brentford’s Egan. I’ve never doubted his shot-stopping, it’s the other parts of his game that make me nervous.

The breakthrough for Leeds came just after the half-hour, Ezgjan Alioski’s clever free kick found the head of captain Liam Cooper and he beat Bentley superbly to give Leeds the lead. 1-0 at the break.

Pierre-Michel Lasogga could and should have doubled the lead just after the hour. The German striker was through on goal but he hesitated just enough for Woods to get back to clear the ball off the Brentford goal line.

Leeds threatened but the final ball either was too short or Brentford cleared their lines.

Wiedwald made a easy save look hard late in the game when Judge’s freekick beat the wall, his parried save went to Marcondes but he hit the ball wide of the target.

Man of the match: Gjanni Alioski.

Mike Gill

It’s difficult to remember when Leeds last ‘won ugly.’ In fact Boxing Day seems like a long time ago.

The seeds that Paul Heckingbottom planted are starting to grow and United deservedly won this scrappy affair. The defence looked much tighter and Felix Wiedwald had a good afternoon between the sticks.

Although sometimes a bit ponderous, Vurnon Anita looked more at home at left-back than Laurens De Bock did against Derby. When Liam Cooper put the Whites ahead on 31 minutes it seemed, for once, that they would hang on to the lead.

Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas worked hard on the wings and Samuel Saiz showed some nice touches. Even as the game headed towards the final whistle the sense of desperation which has dogged the Whites appeared to vanish.

The scoreline flattered Brentford and manager Dean Smith’s ungracious post-match comments only added to our enjoyment. Has the corner been turned?

Too early to say.

But a nice winning run like the two runs we experienced earlier in the season would be most welcome.

Man of the match: Liam Cooper.

David Watkins

Finally, at the tenth time of asking and for the first time since Boxing Day we have three points from a game and Paul Heckingbottom has his first win.

A nice little run of three unbeaten games against three top-eight sides is also on the board. It may not be enough ultimately to get us into the play-offs but it feels a whole lot better.

This was by no means a top-six-type performance but Leeds put in a display in the image of their determined new coach looking organised and far more defensively adept than we have done of late albeit still wasteful of the ball on occasions.

A fine glancing header by ‘Captain Coops’ got Leeds the lead against the run of play and from then on, despite the Bees having almost twice the possession, we managed to restrict them to long-range efforts that rarely troubled Felix Wiedwald.

On the one occasion they did hit the target in the first half, Felix pulled out a stunning save to turn away a half-volley that was otherwise destined for the top corner.

Man of the match: Liam Cooper.