Gary Neville has waxed lyrical about Leeds United once again – and has outlined exactly why he regards Marcelo Bielsa’s side as “a good watch”.
Former Red Devil Neville has regularly ‘broken rank’ this season by piling praise on Leeds. He lavished praise on their style earlier this season and recently gave this glowing appraisal of Kalvin Phillips. That said, the former defender does recall with no fondess his battles on the pitch with Manchester United’s Yorkshire rivals.
Neville has also been quick to praise Leeds again after analysing their outstanding 2-1 win against champions-elect Manchester City.
Having gone 1-0 up in the first half, Leeds were dealt a blow when Liam Cooper was sent off before the break.
But the Whites were far from submissive after the restart, still causing City problems despite their disadvantage.
Pep Guardiola’s side did level with 15 minutes to go, but Stuart Dallas scored in stoppage time to earn his team all three points.
It was the West Yorkshire side’s best result of what has been an impressive first season back in the top flight. It also brought an end to City’s run of 27 wins in their last 28 games.
Analysing the result, Neville admitted he really enjoyed watching Leeds play.
“There are certain opponents that Leeds are perfect to play against. I think actually City would suit them,” Neville said on his podcast. “I think Leeds are a good watch.
“You don’t watch a Leeds game where you don’t think actually it’s a good watch.”
Their tenacious and entertaining style has won them many admirers over the course of the campaign. The positivity continued to flow their way after their success on Saturday lunchtime. And former Leeds player Ferdinand was another of those to wax lyrical about their most recent display.
On BT Sport, he said: “We’ve asked, can Leeds adapt? They were forced to go down to 10 men and were magnificent to a man. They spent 45 minutes down to 10 men against a team like this.
“The energy, when they won the ball they were still a threat. Leeds fully deserved the result, fantastic performance. These guys were committed. You get a sending off, sometimes teams capitulate but they were calm and composed.
“They looked like they were absolutely under control and where they are meant to be. There was a cutting edge when they got the ball. City at times had half chances where you thought they could do better, but you have got to give Leeds credit.
“They aren’t conservative, they just throw it at them. There is never a step back with this Leeds team, it is always on the front foot. You have to give credit to this team. Stuart Dallas in particular and Kalvin Phillips. Phenomenal.”
Emotional Bielsa credits Leeds spirit
Speaking post-match, Leeds manager Bielsa said the win was thanks to the spirit of his squad.
Playing against a team just a few wins away from being crowned champions with 10 men would see many teams crumble. But the Elland Road outfit defended resolutely to ensure that wasn’t the case.
“I think we have to link the victory to the spirit of the players,” the Argentine said.
“The spirit of all the players added together creates a uniform effort. It’s very difficult to win games like today. I think we deserved it but the fair thing would have been for City to win it because they had the dominance and the chances.
“From the adversity and effort of the players it was emotional for me. It was a rebellious team. They weren’t resigned to lose.”