Leeds United head coach Uwe Rosler believes Chris Wood has found his home after the striker’s superb late goal sealed Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Derby and ended a run of seven league defeats at the iPro Stadium.
The £3million summer signing from Leicester City struck for the third game running to give Leeds their first victory at Derby since 2002.
With both teams drawing their previous four Sky Bet Championship games, another stalemate had looked on the cards when Leeds went ahead in the first half only for Derby to respond early in the second.
Leeds had been the sharper, more energetic team in the opening 45 minutes and deservedly went ahead just before the break when Stuart Dallas took a short corner and Alex Mowatt crossed for Tom Adeyemi to head in from eight yards.
But Derby were level in the 48th minute when Chris Martin turned on the edge of the area to send a shot into the bottom left corner, while Jeff Hendrick and Andreas Weimann both had chances for the home side before Wood won it in style.
He had missed badly from six yards with a 77th minute header but with two minutes of normal time left, he turned and sent an unstoppable shot from 20 yards past Scott Carson.
“I think he’s been prepared since he walked through the door,” Rosler said. “He needed a home, he needed to realise that the manager really wanted him and the chairman really wanted him and that he’s playing for a massive club.
“He’s aware of his responsibilities because coming from a squad player to a club where’s he a 40-game plus player he’s aware that he has to perform in each game and has to give us a platform to play on.
“I always said from day one the goals would come because I see what he puts in, and I’m a big believer in life that what you put in you get out.”
Rosler added: “I think this was a big challenge for us. We played against a big budget team who are big favourites to win this league with experience and quality in every department and I thought the players coped with that challenge and I was very happy with the freedom they played with when we had the ball.”
It was a different story for Derby head coach Paul Clement who heads into the international break still searching for a first victory of the season.
“It’s another game where we have gone behind in the first half and that’s four games out of five where we’ve gone a goal down,” he said.
“It was an excellent response in the second half but you have to play the game over 90 minutes.
“You can’t just play well for 20-25 minutes and that’s really the summary of our work leading onto this international break. We’ve played five games, got four points. We would have hoped to be around nine or 10 so we can therefore say the start to the season is disappointing.
“We have to be more consistent over the games but I have confidence in these players. I think they’ve shown they are a good football team and can battle and fight and do all the ugly stuff to get the foundation you can build your football on, but we’ve not done it consistently enough over the 90 minutes.”