David Prutton: Leeds United stood up to West Brom challenge, now they must face Millwall in the same way
We saw a very different side to Leeds United in midweek against a resilient West Brom team.
You obviously only get three points for any victory, but it was done in a slightly different way to what we are used to seeing under Marcelo Bielsa.
They needed to bounce back after the weekend defeat at Charlton, which I am sure was disappointing, but that’s the great thing with Championship football, you get another opportunity just a few days later to put it right.
To inflict a first defeat on West Brom is a feather in the cap for sure, but they’ve also got to make sure they take points off their rivals.
Slaven Bilic has made a good start, and I think they will definitely be a rival for promotion and they gave Leeds a big examination at Elland Road.
I think any time you can change up the way you go about winning a football match means that there is a strength in depth to the squad and their character too.
As much as Leeds fans love the free flowing football, it was nice to see a bit of a backs-to-the-wall performance and that grinding out of a result.
Patrick Bamford was given the man-of-the-match award and the fans were singing his name which is a nice touch.
He led the line brilliantly, held the ball up and especially when it was getting towards the dying embers of the game he was really good at releasing a bit of pressure on the defence.
He showed a different side to what he’s about. We all think of him as a nice footballer but I think he showed us there is a bit of an edge to his game.
Maybe that early season criticism he has had has fuelled him on in a different way to add that to his game.
There’s obviously a few injuries piling up again and we saw this last season.
Last year the players who came in stepped up and Marcelo will need that again. I always think that when injuries happen, especially to key players, you have to try and accentuate the positives out of it.
It gives someone else that chance to come in and show what they can do, Leeds will certainly need that this season.
Especially with the way they dominate teams, you’re never going to have a year without the odd spell of problems in the treatment room. Whoever steps in will be thoroughly trained and schooled in what Marcelo needs and wants.
I think that strength in depth can signify how ready a team is for what a title challenge can entail.
Leeds’ record at Millwall obviously makes for tough reading in recent years, and it’s a cliche but of course from my own playing experiences it is a very difficult place to go.
Their last win came in 2012 which shows just how big a problem is has been to get a result.
Leeds fans though I’m sure will revel in the atmosphere and the players should try and do exactly the same.
You’ve got to be ready for a battle as a player. Yes, you have to be tactically and technically set up very well.
But you have to make sure that whatever the manager has asked you to do from a game plan point of view is put into practice.
Then the other side of it is just being mentally resilient enough to deal with what the atmosphere is like.
It’s fierce, it can be extremely aggressive and it can be intimidating if you let it be. But part of playing against sides such as that is being professional about it. It is only as hard as you make it.
If Leeds have got any inclination or desire to be one of the teams who is promoted at the end of the season they should be aiming to get a result this weekend.
They’ve had a great result in midweek and to back it up with another three points, especially at Millwall, would send a big message.
We can talk about everything around the fixture, but Leeds are a quality side. They should be looking to relish this opportunity and hopefully they can.