Leeds United’s hard work and commitment since the start of the new season was finally rewarded with a spot on the top of the Championship pile, and it seems a dream is very much becoming a reality.
Previous wins have seen the Whites slowly creeping up the ladder, but Tuesday nights hard-fought victory provided something for the players to hold onto and for the first time in a long time, has given them something to lose.
Over the years, Leeds have played sides battling for play-off spots, or fighting for the title and with the Yorkshiremen averaging mid-table finishes before the two most recent seasons, they have gone into games with nothing to lose.
This, of course, had its advantages; there would never be much riding on it, the fear factor of losing the game lay with the team who had things at stake and ultimately, it provided the Whites with a different sense of confidence.
But now they are top of a very difficult Championship table, there is something worth maintaining during the season.
Leeds cementing themselves at the top of the league will lift expectations higher than they already are and, for the first time in 27 years, they will have the confidence of a team flying high above the rest, as oppose to a team in mid-table playing the favourites from a meaningless position.
— #WALMOT (@WALM0T33) September 12, 2017
A 2-0 win didn’t exactly emulate moments from last Saturday’s 5-0 domination of Burton, but it was a different type of win, a gritty win, and they will be required this year if the Yorkshiremen are to uphold the high standards expected of them.
Unity and spirit have been key cogs in the Leeds United machine during the opening stages of the campaign, and the current group of players seem to possess belief and focus like no other team that has passed before them over the last few years.
Belief and desire is certainly on Stuart Dallas’ agenda, whose form has surprisingly improved since his stint on the bench.
It would’ve been disappointing for the 26-year-old to go from being a regular starter last season to a bench role this year, and although Leeds have fought to be top of the league today, fighting to solidify that spot will come behind fighting for a first team spot for Dallas.
The Northern Irish International stepped of the bench to net in injury time against the Blues and add to his collection of winners after coming on as a substitute, having previously secured United’s win against Sunderland after coming off the bench.
If sitting on the bench doesn’t affect your morale or form, then it will be hard to find something that will affect the Whites as they again showed their strength in depth with the introduction of such an influential player like Dallas.
However, after last season saw United take their foot of the gas, complacency will be the only issue that Thomas Christiansen will need to eradicate and he has already shown that he intends to solve this problem.
The Dane has created a ‘take each game as it comes’ mentality and by doing this, Leeds will hopefully avoid diverting their attention like they did under Garry Monk last term.