Leeds United 2 Rotherham United 0: Whites rode luck but deserved win, insists Bielsa
Marcelo Bielsa said his players had ridden their luck but deserved to win after making a small piece of history by becoming the first Leeds United manager to kick off his reign with four straight victories.
Bielsa eclipsed Jimmy Armfield, the last Leeds boss to win three games in a row in 1974, as a 2-0 defeat of Rotherham United at Elland Road maintained the club’s 100 per cent start to the season.
Leeds fought hard to follow up previous Championship victories over Stoke City and Derby County, recovering from a nervous first half to turn the screw and outclass Rotherham in the second.
Luke Ayling’s maiden goal for United opened the scoring on 49 minutes before Kemar Roofe claimed his third of the season by finishing off a flowing attacking move 19 minutes from time.
Rotherham had twice gone close in a goalless first half with Ryan Williams denied by a point-blank save from Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Jon Taylor striking the inside of a post.
Bielsa admitted to problems before the interval, saying: “We built too much from the back and we built in a lateral way. It was not easy for us to go from defensive positions to offensive ones. On the left we had less offensive actions and our crosses were not very good.
“We could have ended the first half with us conceding goals. They had three clear opportunities to score a goal and these actions were provoked by us making mistakes.
“The second half looked like the first half but the opponent didn't have any offensive actions. They were a little bit more tired so we had more spaces to attack. But I think we deserved to win the game.”
Bielsa is rapidly justifying Leeds’ decision to go after his signature in the summer and United, who reached the League Cup’s second round with a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night, are the only Championship side with an unblemished record. Aston Villa’s 100 per cent start ended with a 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town this afternoon.
Asked if his his record-breaking run mattered to him, Bielsa said: “You make conclusions only at the end, when you see if we reach our goals or not.”
Rotherham manager Paul Warne held his hands up to Leeds’ quality in the second half and said his side had been punished for failing to take their chances.
“They're an amazing team, everyone knows that,” he said. “We didn't have enough threat in the second half, like we did in the first half. But the lads went toe-to-toe and I don't think anyone in this room had us down for a 2-0 defeat. A lot of pundits had us down for a drubbing.
“The way they play is unique. The way they play is excellent and it’s difficult to stop.”