Adam Forshaw revealed how his reluctance to lose a place in Leeds United’s starting line-up quelled a bout of sickness after he helped the club to a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic.
The midfielder was taken ill on Saturday but turned out against Wigan 24 hours later as Leeds regained first place in the Championship with a convincing victory at the DW Stadium.
United head coach Marcelo Bielsa had drafted Forshaw in his side for a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest eight days earlier, handing him his first start of the season, and Forshaw is ahead of Samuel Saiz in the selection order at Elland Road having lost the opening stages of the campaign to a broken foot.
The 27-year-old was forced to miss Leeds’ final training session ahead of the trip to Wigan but linked up with Bielsa’s players at the team hotel late on Saturday and went on to produce an influential display.
“I was sick and I didn’t train,” Forshaw said. “I met up with the team late on.
“I’ve waited that long to get back in the team that I didn't want to miss the opportunity. I’m pleased to get through 90 minutes and I can rest up now for next week.
“I don't want to harp on about it because it's one of those things but I'm desperate to play. I met up at the hotel, had a good sleep and felt a lot better in the morning. I’ve worked hard trying to be as fit as possible.”
Wigan boasted one of only two unbeaten home records in the Championship prior to United’s victory and tasted defeat in a league game at the DW Stadium for the first time since February.
Bielsa’s side made the most of a bad mistake from Wigan goalkeeper Christian Walton early in the second half but Latics manager Paul Cook admitted it was “probably” a deserved result and conceded that Leeds “had that bit of quality.”
“I spoke to one of their lads who I’ve played with and he said we’re the first team to come here and really pass them off the park,” Forshaw said.
“In the second half we were comfortable, we moved the ball really well and we should have scored a couple more. If we’re going to say what maybe let us down last year, it was grinding out results like this and showing grit and determination late in games. That’s as pleasing as 3-0 wins for me.”
Leeds hold 30 points after 16 games and are first in the table, above Norwich City on goal difference. The league remains congested, however, with a four-point gap to Nottingham Forest in sixth.
Forshaw insisted he was happy to be leading the way, saying: “Let's have it right, it's a nice pressure.
“It's a better pressure than other teams who are down at the bottom of this league and if you can't enjoy playing at the top, I don't know when you can.
"We felt it added a bit (of pressure) with everybody else playing on Saturday and Friday night so we’ve shown good character to come here and win.”