Leeds United under-23's: Corberan 'proud' to see players make Championship leap

Leeds United under-23's manager Carlos Corberan.
Leeds United under-23's manager Carlos Corberan.
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Leeds United under-23's coach Carlos Corberan admitted he was bursting with pride after seeing a number of his players make the leap into Championship action in recent weeks.

The Whites fell to a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park on Friday evening, while Corberan's men hosted Queens Park Rangers under the lights at Elland Road in the Professional Development League.

The Spaniard's side came out on top 2-1 although they were missing some key figures with skipper Paudie O'Connor, Tom Pearce and Pascal Struijk all away in first team action.

United, much like the senior squad, were playing with a makeshift defence with midfielders Romario Vieira and Oriol Rey moving backwards to play in the middle of the back four while Tuesday's senior debutant Hugo Diaz shifted across to right-back.

Corberan though admitted it was a nice problem for his side to have believing that even though many of his players had been called up due to the current injury crisis sweeping Thorp Arch it showed that the work he and his staff are doing is producing results.

"I am really happy when I see our players can be there," revealed Corberan following Friday's victory.

"One of our objectives is to help the first team every time. We are here to create future players for Leeds United but if they have to play now and they have to be a present player then it is fantastic for us too.

"In this moment we are using some under-18's players and some who have played less this season. We played with two midfielders as centre-backs but for us usually it's a normal situation because we try to dominate the ball from the beginning.

"Sometimes it can help you to play better football and help you to control the game more. Then at the same time when I am watching the first team and I see Paudie [O'Connor] make an amazing game I am so proud.

"I think it's our way. This is our objective. Every time they play with the first team it is fantastic news for us."

The Spaniard also admitted that he had been working extremely close with Paul Heckingbottom since his arrival in West Yorkshire in early February and believed it to be an important relationship for the club.

"We are working very close," Corberan continued.

"We have a fantastic relationship with him and before that with Thomas [Christiansen]. This is my job, to have my players ready to help the first team. It is one of my objectives but at the same time I want to achieve this because we are Leeds United.

"We are a big club, we want to win games and dominate to show we have the future of Leeds right here. Our relationship is always very close and this is key to producing the players for the club."

An Alex Machuca double returned the Whites 23's to winning ways following Monday's 2-0 defeat at Millwall. Corberan's men had to dig deep with chances at a premium and just moments after levelling proceedings saw Vieira receive his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

Machuca though provided the inspiration needed rifling home a second just seven minutes from time to hand United all three points and Corberan was impressed with his team's battling qualities.

"I am very proud of my players because in hard circumstances we win the game," he admitted.

"We showed our personality, our football and we're happy with the result because it's the last game here at Elland Road. We had to change a little bit of planning [after the red card].

"We had to try and recover the ball near our box and counter attack, I think we didn't work it well enough because we were caught offside a lot but the players closed the spaces and made an amazing effort.

"I think this is very positive, not only for today but for their careers because every time you have to play in tough conditions it shows character. We played against a very good team who were better in their play but we were better in the result so it was fantastic."

Corberan also admitted he has been impressed with match winner Machuca: "I think he is a very special player."

"Sometimes with players we have to be a little calm because in any moment he can produce something different. Maybe until now Alex was not making a full game, only producing some details. He showed he was focused on the game, he showed his character and skills can make the difference."