'Which four?' - Swansea City boss Michael Duff issues Leeds United 'Premier League' verdict
Eye-catching finishes from ex-Swans Joel Piroe and Daniel James, either side of a quality goal by Georginio Rutter, took the game away from the visitors, who opened the scoring in the first minute. Leeds thought they had hit the front inside 40 seconds but James’ effort was ruled out for offside, before Swansea broke immediately to take advantage of Pascal Struijk’s wayward header, Jamie Paterson providing a perfect lob. The lead lasted just three minutes, Piroe running onto a beautiful Crysencio Summerville through ball to slot past Carl Rushworth. Rutter’s goal came in first half stoppage time and James gave Leeds breathing space on 61 minutes.
"Ultimately we've been done by Premier League quality,” said Duff afterwards. “Look at the first goal, Summerville, the one-two he played, the weight of pass for the goal. The pass [from Ethan Ampadu] and touch [by Rutter] for the second goal. The weight of pass was perfect, he put it in the only place he could put it without us coming to get it. It's disappointing but we asked them to show bravery. I don't think Carl's made a save of note. It's getting the balance of accepting defeat and not accepting it. Ultimately it's that little bit of quality let us down and that's what we're up against.”
Duff’s men did not come to Elland Road to sit deep and frustrate, attempting to press high and then play their way out of trouble at the other end, which the manager said was down to the profile of players at his disposal. “There's no point coming here playing 5-4-1 or 4-5-1, I don't think we've got the players to do it. We have to football our way through them, which is what we did. We mixed it up well, we were aggressive in the press, nicked it in good areas.”
The Swans have now lost to each of the Championship’s top three sides and conceded three goals on every occasion. Duff was particularly complimentary about the challenge posed by Leeds, who sit third, now seven points behind Ipswich Town and eight behind leaders Leicester City. When asked for an assessment on how good the Whites’ front four are, he quipped: “Which four? They're not bad, Patrick Bamford is not bad, Jaidon Anthony is not bad, Gnonto is not bad, an Italian international coming off the bench in the Championship. They were devastating, the difference in the game. That's what wins you games, costs you money. They're a good team. Daniel has them playing a certain way but when they find a pocket they can really hurt you, we couldn't do that next bit. That’s no slight on my players, they did what we asked of them. But in answer to your question, very good.”