Stuart Dallas said Leeds United had shown the hallmark of “winners” after a late goal from Kyle Bartley snatched another home victory from Saturday’s clash with Brentford.
Bartley nodded home a 89th-minute header to drag Leeds through a hard game at Elland Road and consolidate their position in the Championship’s play-off zone.
The 1-0 win was Leeds’ seventh from their last nine league games at home and Bartley’s dramatic goal with their first effort on target kept the club firmly in the hunt for promotion with the season set to reach the halfway stage on Boxing Day.
Former Brentford player Dallas, whose right-wing cross laid on Bartley’s goal, described United’s victory as “ugly” but claimed the result was another example of their durability after three months of consistent form. “It’s a sign of a good side that we can win ugly, as they say,” the winger said. “Everybody knows it wasn’t our best performance but you get the same amount of points for winning ugly as you do for winning nice.
“It was a day for digging in and you can’t play well in every game. We knew three points were massive for us. We’ve got to keep going and keep fighting and the manager says that winners win games. We showed that.”
Leeds have maintained a position in or around the play-offs for the past month and Saturday’s result left them in fifth place, creating a two-point cushion over Derby County in seventh.
The win over Brentford followed up a highly creditable victory against Jaap Stam’s Reading in midweek, giving Leeds a maximum return from back-to-back home fixtures and quickly atoning for a disappointing 2-0 defeat away at Brighton.
Dallas said: “We’re pushing and we’re in the play-offs but we can’t look too far ahead. We’ve got to take it one game at a time and that’s Preston on Boxing Day.
“But back-to-back victories in this league is massive. The gaffer touched on that with us before the game and we’ve shown again that we’re able to bounce back from a defeat like we had (at Brighton). To do something in this league you’ve got to build on results.”
Souleymane Doukara and Luke Ayling missed good chances to draw first blood against Brentford before Bartley finally struck but Dallas conceded that Leeds had struggled to impose themselves on Dean Smith’s side.
“From the start we knew it was going to be hard,” he said. “It wasn’t a great game but it was a good game for us to win.
“We showed real courage and determination at the end.When you get a chance you’ve got to take it.”