A delighted Steve Evans watched Leeds United “blow apart a 32-year record” as a long-awaited win at Cardiff City continued an impressive recovery from his nightmare at Brighton.
Strikes from Souleymane Doukara and Mirco Antenucci handed Leeds a 2-0 win at the Cardiff City Stadium last night, the club’s first win in the Welsh capital since 1984.
That unflattering record remained intact during numerous fruitless visits to South Wales but Leeds fought their way through a dramatic game to break it through Doukara’s first-half strike and Antenucci’s breakaway goal in injury-time.
Evans was indebted to a brilliant performance from goalkeeper Marco Silvestri – described by Cardiff manager Russell Slade as “inspired” – and United survived City striking the crossbar and a post with the score at 1-0.
Leeds, however, have stabilised their season and reasserted Evans’ authority after a shocking result at Brighton nine days ago which raised serious questions about his future as head coach.
Saturday’s win over Bolton Wanderers eased the pressure and speaking after last night’s result Evans said: “We learned a very harsh lesson at Brighton. If we’d lost 1-0 or 2-1 it may have papered over things we had to address.
“But I’m so proud of the players. They deserve all the credit, not the head coach or the staff. Just them. What we’ve done is taken a 32-year-old record and blown it apart. The performance tonight deserved the win.
“I’m very proud of the reaction. This isn’t about the head coach. It’s about the players and the supporters – for every supporter who spent a penny going to Brighton, and I know they spend hundreds of pounds. You never forget those days. It sticks in your throat.”
Slade, who saw right-back Fabio sent off on 64 minutes, claimed Cardiff had been denied a clear penalty when the ball struck the arm of Giuseppe Bellusci early in the second half.
But Evans said: “If we give a penalty for the one Russell wants there’ll be six penalties a game. He’s going to hurt and he’s going to make excuses for his team. I’d expect any good coach to do that.
“We should have put the game to bed, but we had to defend at front to back. It helps when your centre-backs and goalkeeper do what they did. The credit rightly goes to Marco Silvestri.”