Leeds boss Steve Evans described Lewis Cook’s 35-yard strike in the 1-1 draw with Fulham as the “best goal he has seen in the flesh”.
United, with only one win in nine going into the game, were staring down the barrel of a seventh league defeat at Elland Road after former trainee Tom Cairney gave Fulham a deserved 17th-minute lead.
But teenage midfielder Cook – the subject of our weekly Scout feature earlier this season – changed the course of the game with a brilliant effort just before the break which earned high praise from his manager.
“It was an absolutely stunning goal from a stunning young player,” Evans said.
“I’d go as far as to say it’s the best goal I’ve seen live in a game. If it’s in the Premier League, it’d be shown for the next five years.
“I’m very blessed to work with him. He’s a magnificent player and a magnificent boy as well.”
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Both sides pushed for a winner in the second half but had to share the spoils from an entertaining contest played out in front of a crowd of just 17,103.
Evans added: “Fulham are blessed with attacking players. They’ve got (Moussa) Dembele, who’ll go to the Premier League in the summer, and the boy who played here for many seasons (Ross McCormack) and is a genius on the park at times, and they’ve not done much tonight.
“I think that’s credit to Sol (Bamba) and Liam (Cooper). I thought we did a good job.”
The result means Leeds remain 17th in the Sky Bet Championship table – a place and two points better off than Fulham – and have little to play for during the remainder of the season.
Evans targets Leeds promotion push
But former Crawley and Rotherham manager Evans was adamant the 2016/17 campaign will be a different story for the Whites.
“I’ve got a track record of taking sides to promotion or very close to it after being backed by the chairman,” he said.
“I have to be backed and I will be backed. I know the players I want. You don’t need to be the head coach of Leeds United to identify that we need to sign some strikers.
“Leeds United is going to build a squad to challenge for promotion in the summer.”
Like Leeds, Fulham have endured a disappointing season although their form has picked up in recent weeks.
Cottagers boss Slavisa Jokanovic, who saw Fernando Amorebieta sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence, felt his side deserved all three points after spurning a host of first-half opportunities.
“I think we made enough chances to win the game but this is football and sometimes it happens,” he said.
“It was a good performance but we weren’t clinical in important moments.
“I’m trying to make some progress and step by step we are starting to make things better.
“They scored a fantastic goal but in my opinion we played better football and came closer to winning three points.”