The result came courtesy of two goals from the “generous” Stuart Dallas, his second in stoppage time at the Etihad Stadium.
Dallas’s opener late in the first half was quickly followed by a straight red card for Liam Cooper – the centre-back was initially awarded a yellow until the video assistant referee advised Andre Marriner to take a second look on the pitchside monitor – which set the tone for the game. Leeds defended doggedly – something some of their critics do not believe they can do – allowing the hosts 71 per cent of possession. City had 29 shots, one resulting in Ferran Torres’s equaliser, to Leeds’s two, yet the visitors were not content to play out a draw.
It was just the second time in 24 league matches quadruple-chasing City have been beaten, and Leeds became the first Premier League visitors to win at Eastlands having had a man sent off in the first half.
“We think the result was deserved because of the character, the personality, effort and the fortitude from a mental and a physical point of view,” said Bielsa, denied the services of club record signing Rodrigo by a training-ground injury.
“I believe we deserved to win because of the belief of the players that they could do it.
“Inside the spirit of the team is the desire to attack when the situation allowed for it. It’s difficult to attack when you don’t have possession of the ball and convert it into an attack.”
The versatile Dallas has once more been one of Leeds’s best players this season, his first in the top flight.
“It gives me great happiness for him because he’s a player whose game is based on a lot of generosity,” said his coach. “He helps all his team-mates to recover the ball and not lose it.
“Goals give a lot of shine to whoever scores. For him to have scored two is normally an anomaly, it’s deserved, it’s good.
“This year has allowed Dallas to show a part of himself that we didn’t know he had.”
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