Confidence in Leeds United bid but Whites must improve particular area of their game - Tony Dorigo

Sunday’s fixture against Burnley at Elland Road was such a huge game and there was clearly pressure to get a result.

By Tony Dorigo
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 4:45 am

You would not have thought that Burnley at home would be that important when you looked at the fixture list at the start of the season.

But I thought it was Leeds United’s biggest game for a long, long time, just because momentum is key.

We knew December was going to be a difficult month and expectations were not so high but the Burnley fixture was a must-win game, simple as that, to turn things around.#

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CHIPPING IN: Leeds United winger Jack Harrison celebrates netting his first Premier League goal of the 2021-22 season in Sunday's 3-1 victory against Burnley at Elland Road. Photo by George Wood/Getty Images.

Sometimes that pressure is very difficult and you end up playing the occasion rather than the team but the boys didn’t do that.

They were absolutely magnificent and I thought they dominated a Burnley side who offered very little.

We knew what Burnley were going to play like but it’s always ugly and it’s always difficult. You have to do your jobs well.

I just thought the way that the players responded to everything throughout the game was superb.

Looking at the other teams in the division and the strength of them and what have you, I think there are plenty of teams, or certainly more than enough teams, that are worse than us for us to stay up.

We need our best players back, obviously, and then we will be absolutely fine.

But even so, when we play the teams that are below us we have to beat them and our form in that respect is pretty good as we haven’t done badly at all against the teams from eighth down.

We have a certain style of play and that’s where, sometimes, a belief in it is really important.

With the way that Marcelo Bielsa wants his teams to play, I think that, if we play that style, we will beat the teams below us.

It’s the really good teams that are very good at nullifying that style and picking holes when we make a mistake.

But, on Sunday, what I saw was much more like us.

We were on the front foot, so many players did really well and they needed to because they needed to step up and show what they were about and they all did, which I thought was brilliant.

Jack Harrison and Dan James both got on the scoresheet and it’s important that our other wingers chip in with goals and assists as well as Raphinha.

But it’s not only those two - I would put the onus on every single player out there to do more and chip in.

Goals, for us, has been a problem; you only have to look at how many we have scored compared to others and also how many we have netted compared to last season.

We are way down and lots of people need to chip in and help out.

We are not reliant on Raphinha as we have got other forward players that can do that - it’s not only the wingers but the midfielders coming through too and the centre-halves at set-pieces.

It goes through the whole side and that belief needs to be there.

I was delighted for Jack because he has got better and better over the last three seasons in which he has been on loan at Leeds.

His stats have got better and better and he has been tremendous.

He has found it a little bit more difficult this season and I am sure that his confidence sometimes isn’t where he would want it to be.

We have seen fits and starts of good performances this season but consistently it has been a little bit more difficult, so for him to score the opener against Burnley was fantastic.

Keeper Wayne Hennessey was certainly caught out by his second strike as he hit it with his other foot so quickly and I was absolutely delighted for him.

What you can never say about Jack Harrison is that he doesn’t put any less than 100 per cent in.

He tracks back, he works up and down and it’s not for the want of trying, put it that way. I thought he was great and to get that first goal, I was really pleased for him.

Dan James likewise. Dan has been a little bit unfortunate due to little injuries here and there and just sometimes he has had to play up front due to a lack of a centre-forward which clearly isn’t his favourite position.

But when we have got him out wide we have seen some really good performances and, on Sunday, we got that end product too.

I certainly enjoyed that one although it took a while to go in the back of the net and it ‘had me going’!

I’d also like to mention a few other players who I thought were absolutely outstanding, and Junior Firpo is the first one.

Lots has been aimed at him and you need to understand all of the things that can influence performances - the club that he has come from, the fitness levels, the style of play, different country, different weather here, the list goes on and on.

Sometimes we are quick to judge.

At the start of the season, there were bits in there that were very good and, clearly, there were bits where it was going to take him a while to adjust.

But I thought we saw a more complete performance against Burnley, his best performance for Leeds in my opinion.

He was aggressive, he got on the front foot more, he got in there first and that’s what we want to see.

We know he is good going forward; I always think that is his strength but now he is adding that other part to his game as well.

He was one who I thought was outstanding as well as Stuart Dallas who was incredible and also Adam Forshaw.

My word, I don’t know how he has come back from injury to that sort of level.

But, just when we needed him, he has been tremendous as well. There were plenty of good performances.

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Thank you Laura Collins