Tyler Roberts talks up Leeds United's 'Player of the Year' Pablo Hernandez
Tyler Roberts described Pablo Hernandez as “incredible” and said the midfielder deserved to claim Leeds United’s player-of-the-year award after an inspired performance from Hernandez wrestled back the initiative in the automatic promotion race.
Hernandez scored twice and wore down Millwall with a brilliant display of passing and invention to force a 3-2 win at Elland Road on Saturday and regain control of an increasingly dramatic fight in the Championship.
Leeds held their nerve on a tense afternoon to move back above Sheffield United into second place after the Blades surrendered a 2-1 advantage in a 3-2 defeat to Bristol City.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were themselves at risk of dropping points having twice falling behind to Millwall but Hernandez followed up a first-half equaliser with an 83rd-minute winner to take his combined tally of goals and assists to 23.
Despite his contribution, the Spaniard was a surprising omission from the Championship team of the year announced by the EFL last week and Roberts, whose pass laid on Hernandez’s decisive finish, expressed astonishment at the Spaniard’s absence.
“When the team of the year came out, I can’t lie - we were all very surprised he didn’t make it,” Roberts said.
“He’s been amazing again this season and last year Pablo showed his quality as well. He’s had a great career and he’s still doing it.
“It’s great to have him in our team. He’s not the loudest player in the changing room but he leads us with his performances and what he does on the pitch. He just gets his head down, keep doing what he’s doing and he showed with two more goals what he’s about. He lets his performances do the talking.”
Asked if he thought Hernandez had been United’s player of the year, Roberts said: “I would say so, definitely. What he’s done this season has been incredible. He’s dug us out in games.”
The fixtures at Elland Road and Bramall Lane on Saturday both swung back and forward, with Sheffield United edging in front as Leeds fell 2-1 behind and Bristol City sealing victory at the precise moment when Hernandez killed off Millwall.
The announcement of the result at Bramall Lane met with a huge cheer from the crowd at Leeds but Roberts said: "If I'm being honest I literally forgot about it the whole game.
"Obviously we got the result and I was buzzing with the three points but the fans were going 'ooooooooo' and I didn't really know what was going on.
“Then the scoreboard came up and it was a nice feeling to know we were back in the top two where we belong.
“You could feel the atmosphere and the buzz around the place at the kick-off but, to be fair, we’ve stuck to what we’ve done all season. Training has been no different, we’ve not had any meetings that have been different. We’ve not changed anything - just stuck to what has worked for us.”