Joel Piroe fires play-off 'final' warning to Southampton as honest debut Leeds United season assessment made

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Leeds United have the chance to avenge regular-season defeats to Southampton in the Championship play-off final.

Joel Piroe insists regular-season defeats against Southampton mean nothing going into Sunday’s play-off final, with Leeds United good enough to beat anyone if they are at their best.

Leeds go to Wembley knowing they can secure an instant return to the Premier League with one more win, but face a Southampton side who caused them plenty of problems home and away. Both results came with their own set of extenuating circumstances but will no doubt hand a psychological boost to Russell Martin’s men going into a game where the smallest margins can make the biggest difference.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Bengal Brasserie

Bengal Brasserie Arena Quarter – serving authentic Indian cuisine in the heart of the city. Proudly supporting Leeds United and the YEP.

Victories in the League One and League Two play-off finals for teams who failed to beat their opponents during the regular season is evidence that previous results mean little, however, and the message from Daniel Farke has been that anything can happen in the final. And Piroe knows that Leeds have the quality to beat Southampton at the third time of asking if they produce a performance similar to that during Thursday’s 4-0 thumping of Norwich City.

“I’m very excited, it's a game that honestly I would love to play tomorrow,” Piroe told BBC Radio Leeds. “It's also good for us to prepare for it but I am really excited. I feel completely ready for the final. Before I came to the UK, I knew that Swansea lost a play-off final the season before so it was already a goal to be able to play there and make the difference. Now I can finally play at Wembley.

“We have full belief in ourselves. I think we could beat anyone so we just have to bring our best. We did a lot of tactical work [in the last few weeks], and I think it clicked very well. I think as well we had a good moment for ourselves to accept what we did wrong during the end of the season and what we had to avoid during the play-offs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It's a final so that's always a game on its own, it's nothing compared to the league. I would say we need to bring the intensity that we did against Norwich and stick to our plan. I've seen how crazy [the Leeds fans] can be and I honestly love it. I just hope we can fill their hearts with joy.”

Leeds head to Wembley off the back of one of their best performances of the season last week, with an admittedly poor Norwich side put to the sword in the semi-final second-leg at a bouncing Elland Road. Piroe netted the second of four goals, pulling away in the box to head home a wicked Wilfried Gnonto cross.

A 14-goal tally is not to be sniffed at but Piroe’s debut season at Leeds has not been plain sailing. A period out of the team was followed by a string of underwhelming performances as the side’s automatic promotion hopes slipped away, but the 24-year-old was electric on Thursday and hopes to mirror that level of performance on Sunday to achieve the ultimate goal.

“I think I could have done better, especially if I only look back at the Norwich game, I could have scored a couple more,” the £16million summer arrival admitted of his first season at Leeds. “I'm not really happy with it but of course, 14 is not a bad number. [Promotion] is my main goal, that's what I've said from the start that I really want to achieve here. I don't care if I don't reach 15 or 20 goals, if we get promoted that's the only thing that matters.”