The YEP jury have their say on Leeds United’s 2-1 home win over Middlesbrough.
The most important thing about this game was the result; if ever there was a must win game, this was it with Thomas Christiansen explaining how he and the players had redoubled their efforts during the break to ensure that would be the outcome.
To then lose again was unthinkable.
So, the win steadies the ship, but let’s not to get too excited. The stats suggest this was a typical Championship game, settled by fine margins and the rub of the green here and there. Admittedly, in most eyes it should have been more comfortable for Leeds as Boro’s penalty was a cruel stroke of bad luck.
If we are charitable, the officials didn’t see Middlesbrough’s Daniel Ayala wrestle Leeds defender Luke Ayling to the ground before he grabbed the Boro man’s leg but it was another lesson Ayling needs to learn; never retaliate!
If we can now go to the current best in class, Wolves and get something there, then maybe we can think more positively about the rest of the season.
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez
At last a good win and some real conviction about the performance.
Middlesbrough offered very little and United would have been untroubled aside from a questionable penalty decision at 2-0.
Irrespective of Boro’s flaws there was clearly some confidence creeping back into the United ranks and our tempo, pressing and attitude were all back where they need to be.
Pablo Hernandez was the Leeds stand-out performer in a team that carried no passengers.
It was a solid performance in front of an Elland Road crowd that really didn’t need cheap and tacky flags to create an atmosphere.
To Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday where a victory at Molineux against the current Championship leaders would be both welcome and unexpected.
There was always going to be a niggling doubt about this side after such a poor run but, if it’s now behind us, what better way to do it than against our former manager Garry Monk?
Man of the match: Pablo Hernandez
Leeds recorded their first Championship win since they beat Ipswich Town back in September, the 2-1 home victory was well deserved.
But seven minutes of injury- time made sure my finger nails were well bitten.
Leeds were impressive, despite Middlesbrough having the most possession in the early minutes, bodies that seemed reluctant to challenge on other occasions went for every available free ball.
Despite a lengthy period of stoppage time, Leeds hung on to get a much-needed three points and the majority of the thirty-plus thousand crowd went home very happy, I know I did.
The performances of Ronaldo Vieira, Kalvin Phillips, Hernandez, Gjanni Alioski and Kemar Roofe need a mention along with the back five, who battled to keep their opponents out.
On Wednesday, Leeds go to Championship leaders Wolverhampton with a little more confidence than they had and they may need as good a performance to even a point.
Man of the Match: Ronaldo Vieira
United recorded a much needed and thoroughly deserved victory at LS11 on Sunday lunchtime in front of a packed out Elland Road.
The Whites opened positively on the front foot with Samuel Saiz as ever at the heart of everything good for the Whites alongside the recalled Pablo Hernandez who impressed, along with Ronaldo Vieira.
Indeed it was the Spaniard of the Pablo variety that opened the scoring on 24 minutes reacting quickest to a set-piece.
The goal remained the difference between the two sides at the end of the first half.
The second period began in similar fashion and the hosts doubled their lead just after the hour mark when a sweeping move was finished by Edjgan Alioski.
Boro looked dead and buried before referee Keith Stroud gave them a lifeline through a penalty with 10 minutes remaining.
However, United deservedly held on to record a thoroughly deserved three points and send “moneybags” Garry Monk home pointless to the delight of 33,000 loyal hordes.
Man of the match: Pontus Jansson.
If ever United needed to put in a result this was the game. Thankfully they obliged and came out deserved victors from this tense struggle.
Kemar Roofe led the line, producing a much more mobile attack. This however was a team performance and the Whites shone in all departments, outclassing Boro for most of this thrilling encounter. Pablo Hernandez opened the scoring with a well taken shot after good work from Kalvin Phillips.
United went into the break with their tails up and midway through the second half Hernandez was again on hand with a super cross to set up Gjanni Alioski.
United’s defence held firm until the linesman drew the referee’s attention to an infringement. Although Daniel Ayala appeared to wrestle Luke Ayling to the ground, the Leeds man was adjudged to have fouled him by grabbing his ankle.
Brett Assombalonga duly dispatched the penalty to set up a nervous finish.
However despite seven added minutes the Whites held on to win.