Head coach Uwe Rosler promised Mirco Antenucci he will make plenty of starts for Leeds this season after the substitute served up a reminder of his talent in the 1-1 draw against Burnley.
Italian Antenucci was handed a place on the bench for the opening match at Elland Road in the Sky Bet Championship this term, despite finishing last season as the club’s top scorer with 10 goals.
Chris Wood, the new signing from Leicester, led the attack but fluffed two excellent chances and in contrast Antenucci rifled a superb opening goal in the 83rd minute - just 13 minutes after entering the fray.
Burnley, though, had a swift answer as substitute and former Leeds loanee Sam Vokes climbed to head the equaliser from Tendayi Darikwa’s measured cross three minutes later.
Rosler said: “Mirco looked razor-sharp in training and the plan was always to bring him on towards the end of the game. His goal was outstanding. Although he started on the bench today he will have plenty of opportunities to start games this season.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche was equally pleased with his own substitute and goalscorer Vokes.
“They were great finishes by their lad and ours,” Dyche said. “I was very pleased with Sam’s attitude. He has got over his injury and his sharpness is coming back.”
Asked whether Vokes could fill the gap left by Danny Ings’ move to Liverpool, Dyche said: “People kept asking how I was going to replace Danny but that wasn’t bad at all. Having said that, I am looking for goals from all parts of the team.
“It was a really tough fixture on paper and overall I think it was the right result for both teams, with lots of effort and desire. We have a belief that we won’t go under and that was the case again when we went a goal down.
“We came to Leeds with a never-say-die attitude, which really pleased me. We are still in the market for players, though we don’t have the money paid by some clubs.”
Rosler rated the outcome as “two points dropped” after Leeds had seized the lead so late in the game, but he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I am very happy with the way we handled the first day of the season, the big crowd and the atmosphere,” he said.
“Everyone contributed to the cause and the tempo from the beginning was very high. On the chances we should have won the game but Burnley never gave up in the Premier League and they showed that same quality today.”
Former Brentford winger Stuart Dallas quickly won over Leeds fans and saw an early effort cannon on to the bar off goalkeeper Tom Heaton’s legs. Dallas received a deserved ovation when he was substituted with 20 minutes left and could well have solved Leeds’ long search for an effective winger.