'Comfortably the best' - Bristol City boss issues strong Leeds United promotion verdict

Bristol City head coach Liam Manning says Leeds United are 'comfortably' the best team the Robins have faced this season after defeat at Ashton Gate on Friday night.

Manning's side were only narrowly beaten, but Leeds did enjoy the lion's share of chances in Bristol to kick off the weekend's Championship fixture list, taking their unbeaten run in all competitions at the start of 2024 to seven games.

Leeds' fifth clean sheet in seven also ensured the Whites maintained their second-best defensive record in the Championship this season, bettered only by league leaders Leicester City, who sit nine points clear of United after moving into second.

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Manning replaced previous boss Nigel Pearson in November, taking charge of 17 Robins matches before Leeds' visit to Ashton Gate, but the head coach says United are 'comfortably' the best side his team have faced this season.

"I have to give Leeds a huge amount of credit, they're the best team we've played against collectively and individual," the 38-year-old said. "Our performance level has been consistently good for a long period. Tonight is the first time I thought we're not quite at the level we think we're capable of. The lads are obviously hugely frustrated but in terms of basics, duels, possession, second balls, you need to be better.

"The first 45 was okay, they pressed with pace, they close spaces extremely well. When the errors happened you can feel the tension and you have to follow it not with another mistake but sticking together. I know we can be a lot better," he added, criticising his own side's performance level.

"They're the best we've played so far. So many players who can dominate duels, when you look at how they handle the ball. Their whole attacking line, playing under pressure in one-v-one situations. Comfortably the best we've played."

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