Leeds United signed off their pre-season campaign with a deserved win over a young Everton team at Elland Road.
United set themselves up for next weekend’s opening Championship game against Burnley with a strong and organised display and second-half strikes from Alex Mowatt and Chris Wood secured victory in front of a crowd of over 17,000.
Mowatt - the club’s player of the year last season - finished off a well worked move on 57 minutes and Leeds afforded their visitors few chances to reply before Wood’s first United goal ended the contest nine minutes from time.
Everton’s line-up was relatively inexperienced, in part because the club will host a testimonial for Duncan Ferguson against Villarreal tomorrow. On top of a few injuries, including one affecting striker Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, Tom Cleverley and Leon Osman were left on the bench but Ross Barkley started alongside Steven Naismith, James McCarthy and Bryan Oviedo.
United’s side in comparison cannot have been far away from the team that Rosler will use when the Championship season starts at home to Burnley next weekend.
Leeds are closing in on a £1.3m deal to sign Stuart Dallas from Brentford but with that move set to be finalised on Monday, Souleymane Doukara featured on the left wing against Everton, just as he had against Hoffenheim last Saturday.
United employed Rosler’s tactics from the outset, pressing Everton high up the field and looking for opportunities to counter. Wood produced the best of the early chances with a 25-yard volley which Joel saw late in the Everton goal and punched away to safety at full stretch.
Everton were patient but only managed to stretch Leeds once before half-time. Sol Bamba, who looked dominant throughout, lost possession in his own half, allowing Everton to play Steven Naismith into United’s box. His cut-back ran beyond an unmarked Arouna Kone and Kieran Dowell’s effort deflected wide.
Mowatt came closer to scoring on 28 minutes when a quick break involving Wood and Lewis Cook ended with Mowatt curling a trademark, left-footed effort past Joel’s left-hand post. WOod then found the net just before half-time - amid a scramble inside Everton’s box - but his finish was ruled out for offside.
Everton’s best opportunity came 11 minutes into the second half when substitute Conor McAleny produced a goalbound header which Silvestri did well to parry and Leeds responded by breaking the deadlock with their next attack.
Robert Martinez’s defence was caught trailing as Mowatt exchanged a 1-2 with Sam Byram inside the area and the midfielder sized up Joel before beating him with a deft effort.
Byram almost added a second when he seized on Wood’s crossfield pass and guided a lob over Joel’s crossbar and Wood put the result beyond doubt on 81 minutes when his 20-yard shot hit a defender’s leg and looped over Joel.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Berardi, Bamba, Bellusci, Taylor, Adeyemi (Wootton 81), Cook (Phillips 70), Mowatt (Antenucci 81), Byram, Wood (Morison 81), Doukara (Erwin 72). Subs (not used): Turnbull, Coyle, Cooper, Sloth, Horton.
Everton: Joel, Robinson, Pennington, Browning, Jones, McCarthy (Cleveley 46), Barkley (Ledson 76), Oviedo, Dowell, Naismith (Mirallas 76), Kone (McAleny 46). Subs (not used): Stanek, Osman, Grant, Walsh.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)