Leeds United got the job done against Millwall on Tuesday night but it wasn’t easy.
The first few minutes were terrible from a Leeds perspective. They gave the ball away in the middle of the park five times before the first goal for Millwall – and that came in the fourth minute.
Leeds were missing Kalvin Phillips. He was suspended for three games after a reckless challenge in the game against QPR.
Marcelo Bielsa said that Ben White would step up into the defensive midfield role, but just like the game against Huddersfield when Phillips was out, it didn’t really work out that way in practise.
Instead, Leeds played with a midfield three of Matuesz Klich, Stuart Dallas and Pablo Hernandez.
That switched late on, with Dallas moving to right-back and White stepping up into midfield.
Perhaps the change came about because of Gaetano Berardi missing out through injury again. What it does show, though, is a flexibility in tactics that helped Leeds see out the game.
The second half from Leeds was phenomenal.
Leeds enjoyed 69% of possession in both halves but the second 45 couldn’t have been any more different in terms of intent and results.
Leeds pressed Millwall into submission and you can see from the stats below why the game was won [SofaScore].
When Leeds press like this there’s no one in the Championship that can live with them. They created four big chances and missed two of them, with Mateusz Klich being the worst offender.
However, he stood out for us and for our favourite stats site, All Stats Aren’t We.
They pointed out that Klich pressed relentlessly and made nine ball recoveries. With Phillips missing, his contribution to the game was absolutely massive.
After an awful first half, every player was sensational in the second half but for me (Josh) Klich was a standout. Terrible miss when he should have killed the game, but his pressing was relentless, making 9 ball recoveries. Harrison also a constant threat. Huge win. #lufc pic.twitter.com/4qalSkxBk9
— All Stats Aren't We (@AllStatsArentWe) January 28, 2020
The 29-year-old completed 100% of his long passes, made five interceptions and his heatmap from the game shows that he was absolutely everywhere on the pitch. [WyScout]
If he has to play there again against Wigan on Saturday we’ll have no issues at all.
He might have missed his really big chance to make the game safe but he was still our man-of-the-match and we’ll need him to be as big again on Saturday.
Hopefully then, Leeds can finally deliver across both halves of the game.
In other Leeds United news, ‘Wow’, ‘Brutally honest’ – These Leeds fans loving what emotional Millwall fan said on Lions TV