Leeds United 2 (Roofe 25, Harrison 47)
Derby County 0
The mood ahead of this game was one of uncertainty, a definite concern that maybe our season was faltering. After all, regardless of us having seen pretty decent displays against both Hull and Forest, we’d lost both games and although we have the ultimate faith in Marcelo Bielsa, it was still difficult to believe him 100% when he told us we were actually unfortunate not to win both those games. The QPR game had already been consigned to the history books as unrepresentative of the true abilities of the 1st XI as so many were rested for that one.
Then there was the concern that Pablo Hernandez might be absent and, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was almost certain we’d lose against what is purported to now be a much better Derby side than the one we hammered back in August without the Spanish genius. The only factor that might help us, I thought, was that their main driving force, Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson was also only 50-50 to be fit. In the event, Pablo played but Wilson missed out and I’m sure that played a part in the outcome. What advantage we gained from Bielsa’s “spying” mission we may never know and hopefully the FA will merely mutter about “ungentlemanly conduct” and tell the Argentine that such things are not done over here! We will all no doubt be concerned though that some greater punishment will be handed out to us because, well because that’s what generally happens with Leeds!
But having now witnessed such a mighty performance from Leeds, one that reduced Derby to a very ordinary looking outfit, we have to conclude that, actually, there never really was much wrong against Hull or Forest! With Captain Coops back alongside Pontus at the back and even with youngsters Shackleton and Davis used late in the game, the defence looked relatively untroubled again, although such was our dominance that Derby really didn’t have much chance to test us! Up front we were still not “efficient” enough in Bielsa’s terms, as we only managed two goals from 15 attempts (Bielsa tells us that ought to have been enough attempts for 4 or 5 goals which would actually have been a more representative score line) but this was as good a performance as we saw against Derby back in August and I think we can all rest easy again that the form we saw then has not been lost, perhaps it was just misplaced for a few games.
I now look forward to the trip to Stoke in a far more confident frame of mind and with a belief that, if everyone came through tonight with no new injuries, then a same again line up ought to bring about a similar outcome, other things being equal and assuming we get a fair rub of the green. In fact the outlook for the rest of the season now also looks far brighter to me; what a difference a game makes!
Leeds Utd Derby C
Possession 62% 38%
Shots 15 7
On Target 5 2
Corners 8 2
Fouls 12 14