Ronaldo Vieira insisted he was always confident that Leeds United would come through a worrying patch of results and said the club were firmly in the hunt for a play-off spot ahead of Saturday’s trip to Queens Park Rangers.
Vieira claimed that a return to form was “only a matter of time” as Leeds fought to arrest a spate of defeats last month and he voiced frustration at the second-half fightback by Aston Villa which denied Thomas Christiansen’s side a third win in four games.
Villa struck through substitute Henri Lansbury on 72 minutes last Friday, earning a 1-1 draw at Elland Road after surviving early Leeds dominance, and Vieira admitted United’s failure to secure a victory made the scoreline “feel like a defeat”.
The result leaves Leeds five points adrift of the Championship play-offs but the club head to Loftus Road on Saturday to face a QPR side who have not won since October.
Rangers are beset by injury and suspension problems, with Jamie Mackie and Alex Baptiste suspended after red cards at Preston North End last Saturday. Boss Ian Holloway is hopeful that defender Nedum Onuoha might feature for the first time in three months having recovered from a torn hamstring.
Vieira said: “We’ve gained a few points in the last few games and everyone’s glad that we’re over the bad run. We knew we were going to do it anyway, it was just a matter of time, but hopefully from now on we’ll keep getting points on the board.
“It was all about staying positive and not dropping our heads. That’s what the team did. We kept working hard and it got us results. We’ve got a good enough squad to beat anyone in this league.”
Vieira returned to Christiansen’s starting line-up against Villa having missed a 2-0 win at Barnsley after the first red card of his career.
The 19-year-old midfielder was hit with a one-match ban following his dismissal in Leeds’ 4-1 loss to Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
His impact was keenly felt against Villa but asked if he was happy with his performance, Vieira told LUTV: “Not really, or not in the second half. In the first half we played well as a team but in the second half we dropped deep and didn’t have much of the ball.
“I’m not going to say (a 1-1 draw) was fair because if we’d finished out chances we would have won the game. We took a point and it’s a bit disappointing because it didn’t feel like a point. It felt like a defeat because we could have won the game. But every point counts.”
Christiansen said Vieira would be required to “learn” from his sending off at Wolves, where a foul on Diogo Jota earned him a second yellow card, but United’s head coach was also critical of himself for failing to substitute the teenager after earlier fouls.
“You’ve got to learn from stuff like that,” Vieira said. “It’s gone now and I’m passed that. Everyone supported me and I’m over it.”