Elland Road reaction: Leeds deserved derby win over Millers, insists Bielsa

Luke Ayling celebrates his goal.    Picture Bruce Rollinson
Luke Ayling celebrates his goal. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was adamant his side deserved their 2-0 Yorkshire derby win over Rotherham but targeted room for improvement.

But the Argentinian head coach, who became the club’s first ever manager to win his opening four matches, played down the Whites’ fine start to the new Championship season.

Rotherham could have led at half-time at Elland Road if Jon Taylor’s shot had not rattled the inside of the left upright and keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell had not produced a fine point-blank block to thwart winger Ryan Williams.

But goals from Luke Ayling and leading scorer Kemar Roofe did the damage as Bielsa’s team made it three successive league victories and four in all competitions.

And probably more importantly for the Whites fans they were able to go home happy after once again securing welcome bragging rivals over their Yorkshire rivals.

“Winning three games in a row is good for us,” said Bielsa, speaking with the aid of a translator.

“You have to respect your opponent, but I think we deserved to win the game.

“The problems we had were in the first half were more linked to our own goal rather than focusing on our defensive actions.

“We have been better in the first half, but we built too much from the back.

“In the second half it was looking like what happened in the first half, but the opponent didn’t have any offensive action. Our opponents were tired so we had more space to attack.

“Unlike our first two league games, today was more of a Championship game.

“Rotherham had three clear moments where they could have scored a goal, which was because of the mistakes we made.”

Leeds have now won their last five meetings with Rotherham and, on this early form, they already look one of the teams to beat this season.

There was a personal milestone for Ayling who scored his first Leeds goal and, amazingly, also his first goal since April 2015.

And for leading scorer Roofe it continued a fine start to the season with a third goal in four games.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne stressed his team missed a good chance to upset Leeds on their home patch.

Warne said: “The lads had a real opportunity to upset the apple cart today - and they didn’t take it.

“They’re great human beings my lads, but they have to believe they are better than they were today.

“We want to get better and really compete, but we’ve got to be realistic but I hope they all think we need to improve, even by 5 per cent that would benefit us.

“In the Championship you don’t get many opportunities to score, so hopefully we take more of them going forward.”

Warne added: “I thought we set up well against an excellent team. We had a couple of good chances and we limited them to a few chances in the first half.

“At half-time we praised the lads and told them that they can’t drop the standards.

“So from my point of view I was disappointed we conceded from a set-piece. Our defender (Richard Wood) said he was fouled in the build up,

“We went toe-to-toe and the lads deserve some credit. A lot of pundits had us down for a big drubbing, but we matched them and I’m really proud of the group.

“The Leeds players are so trustworthy on the ball it made us do a lot of running, which ultimately killed us.

“We’ve got to take the challenges head on this season because there are no easy games.

“If we’re going to have a good season we need to pick points up on our travels.”