DEFENDER Pontus Jansson is ready to lead from the front in Leeds United’s automatic promotion bid with the Swede hoping to call on his title-winning heroics in Sweden to help haul the Whites to the Premier League.
Centre-back Jansson produced a commanding performance as United held their nerve to see out a 1-0 victory at Saturday’s hosts Bristol City to maintain their place in the division’s automatic promotion spots.
Only a victory would do with leaders Norwich City recording a 1-0 success at home to Swansea City on Friday night and Sheffield United then temporarily leapfrogging Leeds into second with a 2-0 triumph at home to Rotherham United in Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off.
Leeds took a ninth-minute lead through Patrick Bamford’s strike at Ashton Gate but then had to survive a late Robins rally after squandering several chances to put Lee Johnson’s side out of sight.
Jansson proved integral to the cause and the 28-year-old, who won a title winners’ medal with Malmo in Sweden in 2013, said he was determined to use that experience to help his men over the line.
“I like this pressure and I’m used to it from when I played at Malmo,” said Jansson.
I like the pressure and I know I’m one of the most experienced players we have so it’s up to me to take it and deal with it.Pontus Jansson
“We won the league when I was 23 or so. A lot of people expected things from me then and now, of course, it’s at a higher level but I still like it.
“I like the pressure and I know I’m one of the most experienced players we have so it’s up to me to take it and deal with it.”
Leeds netted with their first attack at Ashton Gate as Gjanni Alioski’s raking pass found Luke Ayling, whose header back across goal provided Bamford with a tap in.
The striker collided with the post in scoring and eventually had to be substituted three minutes before the hour.
Leeds should have added to their tally after Bamford’s opener with the lively Jack Harrison squandering two good opportunities and City then fluffed their sparse chances to make United pay in the second half.
Shortly after Tyler Roberts saw a good chance saved, Whites goalkeeper Kiko Casilla blocked a low shot from Marlon Pack with his legs and United’s Spanish custodian then kept out an attempted lob from Matty Taylor.
Leeds substitute Barry Douglas also produced a strong header to clear Josh Brownhill’s free-kick from underneath the crossbar as Leeds held firm, seeing out seven minutes of stoppage time. United remain two points behind leaders Norwich and two points clear of third-placed Blades, who Leeds lock horns with at Elland Road next Saturday lunch-time.
Bristol City: O’Leary, Dasilva, Webster, Wright, Brownhill, Diedhiou, O’Dowda (Weimann 59), Semenyo (Taylor 58), Paterson, Pack (Palmer 79), Kalas. Unused substitutes: Marinovic, Kelly, Eliasson, Hunt.
Leeds United: Casilla, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Hernandez, Harrison (Douglas 75), Klich (Berardi 83), Roberts, Bamford (Dallas 57). Unused substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Shackleton, Gotts, Brown.
Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).