Jack Harrison claimed Friday’s win over Derby County was a major statement to the Championship after Leeds United brushed off the ‘Spygate’ scandal and took apart Frank Lampard’s side.
Harrison said a 2-0 victory at Elland Road had comprehensively answered questions about United’s ability to recover from back-to-back league defeats and underlined the their determination to stay at the top of the league.
Leeds finished the weekend four points clear of Sheffield United in second, profiting from one of the most complete performances seen under head coach Marcelo Bielsa.
The build-up to Friday’s match was consumed by the furore over Bielsa sending a scout to watch Derby train on Thursday morning, 24 hours before kick-off, but Leeds set aside the controversy and outclassed County with goals in each half from Harrison and Kemar Roofe.
Harrison, who put Leeds 2-0 up a minute after half-time, admitted Bielsa’s squad had placed extra importance on the fixture after losing to Hull City and Nottingham Forest in their previous two matches.
“That's what we set out to do before the game - make an impression after consecutive losses,” the winger said. “We knew we had to bounce back and make an impression to the rest of the league and I think we did that with the way that we played.
“Obviously we can improve on bits here and there but we showed the league what we’re about and that we’re more than capable of bouncing back from losses.”
Lampard’s side encountered a raucous atmosphere from a crowd of more than 34,000 as Elland Road responded in defiant fashion to criticism of Bielsa’s pre-match strategy. His actions are under investigation by the Football Association and could lead to disciplinary sanctions.
Harrison credited the support from the crowd with inspiring Leeds’ performance and said Bielsa’s squad were set on delivering promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 15 years.
“I can only imagine what it would mean for the city and the club and all the fans here,” Harrison said. “It's a club who are more than deserving of achieving that dream and I want to do everything I can to help reach that goal.”