Stoke City boss Nathan Jones on his 'good friend' inside the Leeds United camp and the character trait he admires about Marcelo Bielsa's Whites

Nathan Jones isn't the first opposition boss to wax lyrical about the potency of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United, it's almost a weekly occurrence thanks to their impressive start to the season.
Stoke boss Nathan Jones highlighted Leeds United's humility(Pic: Getty)Stoke boss Nathan Jones highlighted Leeds United's humility(Pic: Getty)
Stoke boss Nathan Jones highlighted Leeds United's humility(Pic: Getty)

But the Stoke boss, speaking after his side let slip a two-goal lead at Elland Road before beating Leeds 5-4 on penalties in the Carabao Cup, might be the first to highlight a particular character trait he admires about the Whites squad - their humility.

It wasn't an easy night for Jones, under fire after a poor run of results and Saturday's 3-0 comprehensive beating at the hands of the Whites.

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Stoke looked home and hosed at half-time, 2-0 to the good against a very young Leeds outfit.

His opposite number sent on three first team regulars at the break and Leeds came roaring back.

A Jack Butland error allowed Eddie Nketiah to make it 2-1, then Helder Costa headed in the equaliser.

Leeds had chances to win it and were camped in Stoke's half for long spells.

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There was perhaps more than a tinge of relief in the Potters' celebrations after the shootout victory.

"Bit of a rollercoaster," said Jones, summing up his evening.

"Obviously we were in control really, they have plenty of attacking threat, we had chances at set-plays.

"You come to Elland Road you know you have to weather a storm.

"A bit more cutting edge we might have scored again.

"They made three big changes at half-time.

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"A shank kick has lifted the place, that's the type of thing happening at the minute.

"We showed real character to come back from that and saw the game out on penalties."

Jones said he was aware before the game that his team, with nine changes from the side who were beaten by Leeds at the weekend, would 'run out of steam a little bit' because a number of players haven't featured too often this season.

He credited Bielsa's triple swap at half-time for helping Leeds to come back.

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And he maintained that Butland's wayward clearance was what took the game away from Stoke.

"When you bring on Adam Forshaw, Jack Harrison, Ben White, they're good players. They added three of their first team players.

"We made 10 changes from the weekend. They made eight.

"It was one of those games.

"The error really let them back into it and lifted the place then. If we hadn't conceded that I think we'd have gone on to win the game.

"To draw 2-2 at Elland Road is not a bad result in itself.

"To lose a 2-0 lead at Elland Road, the referee takes it (the shootout) to the big end, everything seems to be going against us but we showed great character.

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"I'm proud of them. We've shown a steely edge to score five penalties in front of the Kop end.

"They're a brave group."

Amongst the praise for his ultimately victorious side were plenty of nice things about Leeds United.

He joined the list of people outside Elland Road tipping the Whites for promotion.

But also gave some insight into how the Leeds players conduct themselves.

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"If I didn't really love my house, I'd put it on them going up in the top two," he said.

They're a very difficult team to play against, they're very structured, they know what they do.

"They're as good a side as there is.

"They were unfortunate not to go up last year but I'm quite sure they'll go up.

"The good thing about them is they're a real humble group. I'm good friends with Luke Ayling, I've studied how they play, they're a hard working group, there's no real stars in this side.

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"Look you're talking Kalvin Phillips at £25m the boy is a hard worker, he's a top professional and I know from people I know here, he's a humble kid as well.

"I'd like to go up but if I do, they'd be nice to go up too."