NIGEL CLOUGH insisted Leeds United were destined for bigger things in the next two seasons after dealing a hammer blow to the club’s 2017 promotion bid.
Second-half strikes from Marvin Sordell and Michael Kightly left United’s promotion bid out of their hands for the first time this season as Burton took a giant step towards sealing Championship survival.
After going 2-0 down to two quick Burton strikes inside three minutes, Leeds hit back through Kyle Bartley but the seventh-placed Whites now trail sixth-placed Fulham with just two games to go.
But Burton boss Clough insisted United were already far exceeding this season’s expectations following their 13th-placed finish last term.
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The Albion chief believes Leeds could have a bright future under Monk whose current deal expires in the summer.
The Burton manager also said he could not comment on if United’s play-offs bid was still alive due to having sole focus on the other end of the table.
Clough quipped: “I have not looked at the top half of the table for a long time.
“But nobody thought Leeds would be anywhere in with a chance of the play-offs this season.
“He said this week he was ahead of schedule and maybe in a year’s time they expect them to be in this sort of position.
“But he’s taken them from being a bottom half team to challenging for the play-offs and I think there’s a lot more to come from them in the next couple of seasons.”
Victory against the Whites enhanced Clough’s impressive record against Leeds as a manager.
As Derby County boss, Clough won six games out of six against United and the 51-year-old felt his Brewers side were also unlucky to lose 2-0 at Elland Road in October.
“We played well up there actually earlier on in the season at Elland Road and should have got something,” said Clough.
“We got done by two late goals so it’s nice to reverse it today.
“It was a long last ten minutes once Leeds had scored and they were throwing the centre-half up and throwing bodies forward with balls in the box.
“But I thought to restrict Leeds to so few opportunities today especially someone like Chris Wood, I think the players looked after Steven Bywater in his first start brilliantly.”
Leeds were missing captain Liam Bridcutt who failed to even make the substitute’s bench and boss Monk revealed that the midfielder was experience a reoccurrence of his Achilles problem. Monk said: “His Achilles was sore so he was ruled out unfortunately.”
No Leeds player was booked on Saturday meaning Pontus Jansson remains on 14 yellow cards. A 15th would land the centre-back an instant three-game ban.