The 2-0 win might have been predictable ahead of kick off but, by 80 minutes, you would have got great odds on a Leeds win, nevermind by two clear goals.
It was inevitable that this game wouldn’t reach the heights of Tuesday’s win in the cup and, while both teams had chances, it looked to be heading for stalemate with a very poor referee and plenty of sloppy play on both sides stifling any chance of a breakthrough.
When the breakthrough did come it was from the unlikely source of Souleymane Doukara, a player who is being gently eased back into the fold by Garry Monk.
Monk is building an impressive record of improving players who weren’t quite reaching their potential previously, and it looks like Doukara could well join Chris Wood, Stuart Dallas and Kalvin Phillips on that list.
Equally impressive is Monk’s record in the transfer market and the speed in which he has used it to build a defence that, at times, appears impenetrable.
A case in point was the last-ditch defending that turned into the attack for United’s second goal in the final minute, attitude and desire that has been lacking for so long.
Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley haven’t been short of praise at the heart of the defence but that can mean that the inspired signing of Luke Ayling is overlooked.
Ayling was superb yesterday; chasing, harrying, blocking and breaking forward whenever he could. His play is what United are all about at the moment and it makes you wonder why on earth Bristol City were so happy to let him go.
It’s a very long time since the atmosphere around the club was so positive. Three wins in a week is the perfect set-up to a tricky couple of months that sees us play Newcastle, Liverpool and Aston Villa twice. It’ll be almost like old times.
It starts next week at Norwich who, while no doubt keen for revenge, lost 5-0 yesterday to a Brighton side that we also have to face before Christmas as if to underline the challenge ahead.
Garry Monk says we’ll take it game by game and there’ll be no talk of league tables at Thorp Arch. A sensible approach but, on this week’s evidence, we should fear no-one .
Man of the match: Luke Ayling.
A hard-fought three points against a team that gave as good as they got; there is something happening at Elland Road and it needs to be nurtured. The feel-good factor is back and how the 20-odd thousand Leeds fans are enjoying it!
Garry Monk recalled Pablo Hernandez to the starting XI. With Coyle absent injured Berardi took his place on the bench. 0-0 at the break, Leeds had moments but just couldn’t finish them. The second half followed the way of the first, lots of effort but no end product. Sometimes in football you have to win ‘scruffy’ and that’s just what Leeds did. A superb ball from Hernandez found substitute Sully Doukara who was felled in the penalty area, Chris Wood coolly despatched his 10th goal of the season, , then, after a goalmouth scramble in injury time, substitute Alex Mowatt threw his body to block a goal-bound shot, the ball broke to the other end and found Doukara who was felled again in the area, but he regained his feet to score the second.
A superb week for Leeds, two Championship wins and a epic EFL Cup win, two clean sheets and seven games without defeat at Elland Road.
If Carlsberg did great weeks this would surely be up there. Leeds move up to ninth.
Man of the match: Luke Ayling, superb but Kyle Bartley and Sully Doukara definitely need mentioning.
In common with several of the jury I predicted a 2 - 0 win I don’t think anybody expected it to be this tough though
But these are the uncompromising games you need to win. Burton had a lot of possession but did little with it.
Hadi Sacko came close with a header in a dour first half
Kemar Roofe came close twice in the second half before being substituted by Soley Doukara who was upended twice in the box. Firstly gaining a penalty converted by Wood and then picking himself up and scrambling the ball home for the second.
Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.
It wasn’t pretty but it was pretty effective as Leeds moved in to the top 10 of the Championship.
The Whites dug in after a tough week to come out of their first-ever fixture against the Brewers with all three points and the added bonus of reaching a positive goal difference. Soulemayne Doukara is a decent foil off the bench and was instrumental in both goals, winning the penalty and showing pace and power to wrap things up. More satisfying was the tenacity Leeds showed to defend the lead they had fought so hard to earn.
Next week sees a really tough game before the international break and a pivotal couple of months in the season. But let’s enjoy the Top 10 while we can.
Man of the match: Chris Wood.
Most people expected another close encounter of the Championship kind and that’s what we got.
Burton have struggled on their travels but if they play like this then their first away win will not be far away.
Burton had more possession, almost twice as many shots and more corners.
But the Leeds’ defence stood firm to earn its seventh clean sheet.
A strong defence is a prerequisite for success, something we have known for years but failed until now to deliver.
The Brewers may have had 22 pops at goal but only two troubled Rob Green and that was the difference in the game.
We are also now getting the breaks we deserve despite, in this case, battling with some poor match officials.
The arrival of Sully Doukara offered something different and it was he who undid the Brewers’ defence twice.
This was an important win to show we can dispose of the lesser teams, tough as they will always be.
The next development is to show we can compete with the better teams, several of which we will be facing in the coming weeks.
Man of the match: Kyle Bartley.
The Championship is a gruelling marathon encompassing 46 games over nine months and sometimes it’s grit, determination and organisation which gets you over the line. If you want to progress in such a division then you sometimes have to learn to “win ugly”. and this was one such occasion.
Whilst far from their best a 2-0 win over Burton Albion ended a great week for the Whites which saw them move to just a single point from the play-offs and hand “Clough Junior” his first defeat in seven as a manager against United.
The deadlock was broken by a Chris Wood penalty seven minutes from time and sealed by a thoroughly-deserved Souleymane Doykara goal to send an impressive 24,000 plus crowd into raptures.
Man of the match: Luke Ayling.