Patience pays off as Leeds United start to show their play-off potential – Whelan

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SATURDAY’S clash with Burton Albion at Elland Road was a game of patience.

Burton came here well organised, they were aggressive, disciplined and played to their strengths.

Pablo Hernandez. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Pablo Hernandez. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

I don’t think we played to our maximum ability but in the end we showed what we are all about – we were resilient, aggressive and we were throwing bodies on the line in the final minute which leads to the second goal.

We have got a team of men out there that will stand toe to toe and for somebody to beat us here at Elland Road it’s got to be something special. The last 20 minutes showed the class that we have.

I thought Chris Wood had another solid game up front against three centre-halves – he worked the line really well and held the ball up. He brought us into play. Kemar Roofe, again, was instrumental and within the first minute he had a great little turn. He seems to be finding his feet now and enjoying his football at Elland Road. The only thing that is missing is that goal and that will come if he keeps playing like that.

But we have got a team of lions, whether that’s the XI, the bench or the players that can’t actually make the bench, everyone is singing off the same hymn-sheet. Everyone is trusting Garry Monk and what an amazing job he is doing with the man-management, keeping the side right and managing the right way with the games that are coming up thick and fast. That’s got to be credit to him because it’s not easy keeping every player happy.

But what we saw on Tuesday night against Norwich was players fighting for their position, showing Garry that they deserve to be at the football club and, as a manager, that’s when you know you are doing the right thing.

When you get performances out of the players like that and smiles on the faces afterwards, you know everything is going in the right direction. But like we always say, it’s one game at a time and we are not looking any further than Norwich away.

Pablo Hernandez supplied the through ball that led to the penalty and there’s only certain players that can make that ball happen. To hit it on the volley with that back spin that it had, in to Souleymane Doukara’s path, that’s a technique which is Premiership quality and we are lucky to have him here. I think it was a difficult game for him to come back to because it was quite a scrappy game and a physical kind of game and we didn’t really use him to our advantage much.

But when it came to the critical time, when you need that one player to pick out a player who is making a positive run, which is Doukara, he just produced the goods. It was a splendid pass and hopefully now he can have another week of training and we will see a bit more better football from him.

Regards Doukara, the corner flag took a bit of a pasting from his celebration but that just shows a lot of passion from him. On Tuesday I thought he was the best player on the field. He was taking the game to Norwich, holding the ball, being aggressive, showing a turn of pace and taking players on. What does that say? It says that he wants to stay at Leeds United. He wants to be a part of what’s going on at Leeds United and that’s down to the manager, the backroom staff and following suit from all of the players that are out there.

What we have got now is not just great football players, we’ve got great men. What they are doing off the field with the fans and what they are doing at the end of the game in giving their shirts away, that’s the sort of players we want here at Leeds United. They have got the fight, they have got the desire and they have got the big heart.

Right now, we have got a great chance of getting in the play-offs because we are one point off but the season doesn’t end now. It ends in May and that’s a long way off. There’s loads of points to be played for and there’s going to be some ups and downs along the way.

We are on a great run at the moment but these next four games are real stiff tests. It’s still early on and if we have a glitch in that it’s important that we bounce right back. But we can look no further than Norwich and hopefully we are going to look from a better performance from Saturday.

We got through it but there’s more to come from the boys and we know because we’ve seen it.