Leeds United chief revisits taboo subject to reveal unseen contribution away from spotlight

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Although Joel Piroe was unable to shine in the way he wanted against Huddersfield Town he still managed to please his manager Daniel Farke.

Piroe playing at number 10 is, famously, Farke's least favourite topic or one of them, because he had to explain the situation on so many occasions. Having delivered a lengthy and detailed deep-dive into the positional requirements, Piroe's strengths, weaknesses and those of attack partner Georginio Rutter, Farke made a plea that the subject be left alone and - to date - he has had his wish. But how Piroe performs in the role is still very much up for debate and there have been occasions when the Dutchman has found it difficult to get into matches in the area where he poses the most danger.

Farke acknowledged that this was the case at times on Saturday during the Huddersfield Town win, even if Piroe came off at the end with an assist to his name. Leeds' summer signing from Swansea also recorded his highest tally of touches for a single game this season and carried the ball more than he has in any other Championship match since his Whites debut. Piroe played a part in attacks that led to chances but rarely looked as if he would get on the end of one to add to the five goals he has scored thus far for Leeds. When he did hit the net, in the first half, it was ruled out for offside. He certainly contributed, he just didn't stand out in the same way that two-goal duo Crysencio Summerville and Daniel James did but that, for Farke, wasn't a big problem.

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"Today it was not so much of the game for him to shine because the game development was different," said the German.

"We had many situations out of a counter attack. Then, because of this our players with pace over the wings were a bit more involved. It was a bit more like the central offensive players were dropping in order to disrupt the height of the last row [of defence] in order to create some space for Cree Summerville and Daniel James. Joel is a player who likes to lurk a bit on the edge to get a cutback and to score but it was not the game to do this too much in the second half. It was not a problem. It's not the game where you could shine that much, like for example the last home game against Bristol when he scored a decisive goal."

The reason Farke did not find Piroe's performance or the team's usage of him problematic was that the striker still helped the team in ways that perhaps went unnoticed. That, and the fact that Leeds won the game so comfortably.

"I was quite pleased with his workload, how he linked the play and interrupted the height of the last row, so it was perhaps not the spotlight performance but in terms of the team success it was quite an important performance," said Farke.

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"Yes, strikers or offensive players, especially Joel Piroe, want to score and he's just happy when he gets a goal under his belt but he can be also proud of what he's done for the team today."

DISALLOWED GOAL - Joel Piroe of Leeds United scores a goal past Huddersfield Town, which is later disallowed. Pic: George Wood/Getty ImagesDISALLOWED GOAL - Joel Piroe of Leeds United scores a goal past Huddersfield Town, which is later disallowed. Pic: George Wood/Getty Images
DISALLOWED GOAL - Joel Piroe of Leeds United scores a goal past Huddersfield Town, which is later disallowed. Pic: George Wood/Getty Images

As for Piroe himself, something he said in an interview for the club's official programme stood out even before the Huddersfield game developed in the manner that it did. He admits there is room for improvement when it comes to his partnership with Rutter and the way they contribute to Farke's Leeds attack.

"There are so many good individual players here, and it is really enjoyable trying to make it all work together," he began.

"It is something we can still improve upon, and we are doing that all the time. With Georgi, there are still some bits we need to work on, but we're growing every day and really getting to know each other. We know about what we both have and we're just trying to make it work better and better."

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With a collective seven goals and six assists between them, Piroe and Rutter can certainly claim to have made a decent start to life as Leeds United's central attack. And it bodes well for Farke if these will be looked back on as the early formative days or humble beginnings of his strike partnership.