Adam Forshaw claimed Leeds United had proven their ability to handle the pressure of the Championship promotion race by retaking control of the division with victory over Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
Leeds recorded their eighth win of the season at the DW Stadium a day after the rest of the division had completed their fixtures to deliver in a match which Marcelo Bielsa classed as ‘must win’ and gain the initiative in the table once more.
Bielsa hiked up the significance of Sunday’s game after a run of mixed results and goals from Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe sealed a 2-1 success, setting Leeds up for a difficult trip to former league leaders West Bromwich Albion this weekend.
Forshaw admitted that the important of Leeds’ performance against Wigan had been increased by other prominent sides playing before them and a set of results which left Bielsa’s side in fifth place before kick-off.
“Speaking from my point of view, I thought there was a bit of pressure on it, playing after everybody else,” he said. “There was a pressure for us to win the game and stay with the pack and we’ve done that. We’ve gone top of the league and we’re looking forward to (West Brom).
“There was that added extra on it and the manager told us that before the game. He was really honest. He gave us a good speech before we left the hotel and the lads came up trumps.”
West Brom showed an ominous turn of form earlier in the season, winning five games in seven before the last international break but they have taken one point from their last four fixtures, extending the trend of clubs appearing at the top of the Championship before failing to consolidate their advantage.
The seventh-placed Baggies are the only side to have outscored Leeds so far, however, and manager Darren Moore expects Dwight Gayle, Kieran Gibbs and Gareth Barry to be passed fit
to play against United on Saturday.
Forshaw insisted he was optimistic of earning another positive result at The Hawthorns, saying: “It’ll be a tough test. They were in the Premier League last year and they’ve got some really good players.
“But we’re full of confidence now after going away and winning. We’re looking forward to it.”