Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa plays down impact of Sheffield Wednesday victory in promotion race

Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
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Marcelo Bielsa tried to play down the significance of a massive step towards automatic promotion after Leeds United moved three points clear of Sheffield United in the Championship.

Leeds outclassed Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road to pull away from the Blades and move towards to within touching distance of a return to the Premier League.

A second-half goal from Jack Harrison gave Leeds a 1-0 victory over Wednesday, two hours after Sheffield United were held to a dramatic 1-1 draw by Millwall at Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder’s side were denied by a 95th-minute equaliser from Jake Cooper and the Blades boss is counting the cost of injuries to Billy Sharp and Chris Basham and a red card shown to John Egan late on.

Bielsa enjoyed a more profitable afternoon, despite losing captain Liam Cooper to a muscle strain in the warm up, and his side have the Championship’s second automatic promotion place firmly in their hands, three points ahead of Sheffield United with four games remaining.

But Bielsa said: “The are 12 points to play for and we only have three points over them.

“We have to make analysis of this difference and think about what the numbers say. It's not a big difference.

“We played a good game because we defended well and attacked well too. We created chances to score but we only scored one goal.

“When you’re winning by only one goal, you have to be focused because they created one chance in the last minute of the game. You always have to stay focused.”

Leeds produced 28 efforts on goal and were denied in the first half by a superb performance from Wednesday goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, who produced excellent saves to deny Tyler Roberts and Jack Harrison.

He was beaten on 65 minutes, however, when Harrison arrived to turn in a low cross from Pablo Hernandez.

Wednesday offered little in return and were rarely in a one-sided derby after Gary Hooper failed to convert an early one-on-one with Kiko Casilla.

“We need to create a lot of chances to score a goal,” Bielsa said. “It's important to create danger close to the opponent's goal but my objective is to improve our level of efficiency.

“The work in defence today was good. We didn’t suffer a lot of danger and we reacted well to the different skills of their strikers.”