It was a game that Leeds United needed to win, they duly did so. It came on the back of a 4-1 hammering at West Brom and questions needed answering. These answers were given.
It wasn’t a vintage display from Leeds United in a pedestrian first 45 minutes of football. It was methodical, it was plodding and there were times it left the fans screaming for something special. They didn’t get that in the opening half.
The game itself turned on the sending off of Bristol City midfielder Josh Brownhill early in the second-half, a second yellow for a late tackle his downfall. This allowed the Whites to take of the shackles, they began to attack in waves that penned the Robins back.
With Leeds knocking at the door, there was the growing notion that it would be opened at some point. That opening came in the 69th minute, Kemar Roofe neatly turning in a Pablo Hernandez ball into the box.
Down to 10 men, trailing by a goal, Bristol City began to press for a leveller. They showed enough for Leeds United to be wary of their threat. Another goal was needed to put this game to bed, this arrived in the 86th minute courtesy of the Whites Spanish combination.
Neat interplay saw Samu Saiz end up with the ball outside the Bristol box. A skilled, lofted, no-look reverse pass saw the mercurial Spaniard lift the ball behind a slowly advancing defence for Pablo Hernandez to direct a header across the keeper and into the net. It was a carbon-copy of his consolation against West Brom, enough to see out the game with a 2-0 victory.
Leeds United player ratings vs Bristol City
Will Huffer: showed flashes of composure when coming for the high balls. Some nervy moments but handled himself well on a pressure debut (6.5/10)
Stuart Dallas: there when he needed to be. Dependable enough but in a position that is crying out for the return of Luke Ayling. Wasn’t exposed too much, tackled well, no real issues (6.5/10)
Liam Cooper: marshalled the backline well, helping to protect debutant Halme. Some misplaced passes but there getting stuck in when required. Strong and dependable (7/10)
Aapo Halme: a good debut to have in front of a packed Elland Road. Has first-team experience from HJK Helsinki days, showed good composure. Tidy in his passes, played the simple game very well, never troubled (6.5/10)
Barry Douglas: got forward well, helping to get Leeds on the front foot. Delivery from corners and crosses up to usual standard. Nearly scored with a stinging shot, dependable performance (7/10)
Kalvin Phillips: continues to go from strength to strength under Bielsa. Solid in that protective hole in front of the centre-backs. Seven important tackles. Saw a lot of possession, played the ball very well. (8.5/10)
Adam Forshaw: metronomic accuracy with the ball probed Bristol City all afternoon. Saw most ball in the game, used it accurately. More of an influence after Brownhill sending off (7.5/10)
Mateusz Klich: quieter than usual yesterday, didn’t really get into his stride. No errors or issues, just wasn’t his go-forward self. Introduced to new ‘Klich chant’. Did what he had to do. Subbed for Lewis Baker (6/10)
Gjanni Alioski: continues to frustrate, flashes of skill and still works tirelessly. Didn’t see much of the ball, low pass accuracy. Another frustrating day for the Macedonian flyer – booked and subbed for Jack Harrison (4.5/10)
Pablo Hernandez: the reason why ALL Leeds United fans should take compulsory Spanish lessons. Workmanlike first half, but driving force in second 45. Rose after Brownhill dismissal. Moved into spaces, exploited space for others, created chances. Assisted Roofe goal, popped up to score again (8.5/10) The72 MOTM.
Kemar Roofe: held the ball up well, worked tirelessly in a frustrating first period. Worked the gaps well and was rarely stationary, always on the move. There when Leeds needed him, a deft touch to open the scoring (8/10)
Jack Harrison (on for Gjanni Alioski 61′): 30 minute stretch to show what he had to offer. 100% accurate with 15 passes. Always in and about it, helped to drive Leeds forward. Three shots, helped get Leeds into good spaces, stretched Bristol at times (6/10)
Samu Saiz (on for Aapo Halme 64′): just has it, simple as that. Lifts Leeds whenever he’s on pitch. Last four games when not on pitch (320 minutes) Leeds score 2 goals, when on pitch (78 minutes), Leeds score 4 goals. 19 accurate passes yesterday in 30-or-so minutes – assist for Hernandez goal was a peach of a no-look, lofted effort (7.5/10)
Lewis Baker (on for Mateusz Klich 82′): only had around 10 minutes, but drove Leeds forward. Nine accurate passes and one shot on target. Needs to get a longer chance – could be a shrewd loan deal in second half of season (6/10)