Leeds United v Huddersfield Town: Steve Evans quick to praise resilient United defence for upturn

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WHEN the inquest into this season for Leeds United is held, the first-half horror show at Brighton & Hove Albion will be hard to ignore.

Certainly, none of the 1,500 Leeds fans on the south coast that calamitous night as four goals were shipped inside 20 first-half minutes or those watching equally stunned back home in Yorkshire on television are likely to forget it in a hurry.

Look beyond that 4-0 defeat at the Amex, however, and the past two months have actually been an impressive affair for a Leeds United defence that has come in for its fair share of criticism in the past.

In the 10 games either side of Brighton, Leeds have conceded just seven goals – an impressive record and one that understandably pleases head coach Steve Evans.

“It is a team effort,” said the United chief. “Goals win matches, of course they do – and Mirco Antenucci has been on fire for us lately.

“But, arguably, so have (Marco) Silvestri, (Sol) Bamba, (Liam) Cooper before him – and (Giuseppe) Bellusci. They have been fantastic.

“I am talking about individuals but it is the team collectively that has won us these recent matches.”

Today, that defensive solidity will be put to the test against a Huddersfield side bidding to avoid a fifth straight defeat against their neighbours from Elland Road.

Evans was in charge for the most recent of those tussles, a 3-0 triumph that saw Mark Lillis take temporary charge with head coach in waiting David Wagner watching from the stands.

“They are a different team, in personnel, shape and results,” added Evans. “From that point of view, we know they will be up for the game. It will be fiercely competitive, like all derbies.”