MOT View: Mitrovic tamed as Leeds go top - Player ratings from 3-0 thrashing v Fulham
Leeds United went into their clash with Fulham knowing that three points at Elland Road would see them return to the top of the Championship.
It was the perfect start for the Whites, as Helder Costa put the ball on a plate for Patrick Bamford to slam home expertly from just inside the area.
It could have been even better, with the officials missing a clear red card for an elbow from Aleksandar Mitrovic on Ben White only minutes into the game.
After the goal, Leeds struggled to control the game and Fulham started to add more and more pressure in the final third at Elland Road.
Bobby Reid wasted a great opportunity just before the water break, taking a touch when the goal was gaping if he had hit it first time.
Fulham really started to keep possession in the first half, but they weren’t able to capitalise with Leeds keeping the lead into the break.
Leeds started the second half perfectly, on the front foot and they got their rewards for just that. Marcelo Bielsa will have been frustrated towards the end of the first half and this would have delighted this.
A counter-attack from a Fulham corner led to Jack Harrison being released down the right, and his ball was somehow not dealt with, leading to Ezgjan Alioski slamming home.
It was turned into the perfect afternoon with 20 minutes to go. Pablo Hernandez sprayed on the best passes we have seen all season to send Harrison through on goal, and he did the rest to make it 3-0.
Here are our MOT Leeds News player ratings from the 3-0 win…
Illan Meslier – 6
To say how much of the ball Fulham had, he was relatively untested in goal. You could tell the French youngster was eager to stay safe after conceding two against Cardiff, taking no risks with any shots towards goal.
Luke Ayling – 7
Ayling is known for his ability to get forward rather than defend, but he was dominant in the air and in his duels down the right and with the dangerous Mitrovic.
Ben White – 8
Bounced back from the early elbow from Mitrovic to dominate the Serbian for the majority of the game. It was a much quieter second half, but he stood up the challenge perfectly alongside Cooper.
Liam Cooper – 8
A captain’s performance for the majority of the game. Cooper will have wanted his side to have more control in the clash, but he didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon against one of the league’s best sides.
Stuart Dallas – 7
It was a tough afternoon for Dallas, who was facing a fired-up Anthony Knockaert down the right and managed to keep him relatively quiet for large patches. Just as many of the Leeds squad did, he sprung into life in the second half pushing forward much more often.
Kalvin Phillips – 6
Phillips followed Tom Cairney and shadowed the former Leeds academy product very well. The Yorkshire Pirlo made a mistake at Cardiff and was sloppy in possession at times in this one too. He certainly improved in the second half as the Whites took back control of the game.
Mateusz Klich – 6
Klich did start very slowly once again in this one, giving away possession needlessly at times. As the game grew, so did the Pole, doubling up very well to help the defence with Mitrovic.
Helder Costa – 7
Much, much better on Saturday. Costa got on the ball and squared up his man much more effectively than he did at Cardiff and played a great part in the first goal. The Portuguese winger beat Harry Arter with ease and found Bamford with a great low driven cross. He was taken off at half-time with Sky Sports confirming it was a slight knock.
Jack Harrison – 7
The Manchester City was quiet during the first-half but almost made it a perfect start to the second, with his deflected drive missing the corner of the net by inches. Harrison got his rewards though moments after, assisting Alioski somewhat luckily, but they all count. The winger’s afternoon got even better later, finding the back of the net after getting in behind Joe Bryan.
Tyler Roberts – 6
Roberts is a very bright talent, but he certainly has a lot to learn in this playmaker role. The Welsh international often wants to be on the ball when he doesn’t need to be. The perfect example was at the end of the first half when he could have let the ball run to Costa to start a counter-attack, but instead, he took a touch and killed the move. His work off the ball wasn’t good enough, and we can expect to see Pablo Hernandez back in against Luton.
Patrick Bamford – 7
If you had only seen Bamford’s finish in the first-half, you would be amazed that the striker has a tendency to miss big chances. The 26-year-old finished superbly, keeping his head over the ball and finding the bottom corner. Bamford was taken off for tactical reasons and will go into the Luton clash full of confidence.
Substitutes: Pablo Hernandez – 8, Ezgjan Alioski – 7, Barry Douglas/Ian Poveda/ Jamie Shackleton N/A
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