KALVIN PHILLIPS knows Leeds United have been here before.
Dominating possession, smothering their opponents, shots flying in on goal but ultimately failing to leave with all three points.
I think we are just a little bit complacent at times towards the latter stages of the games and with our style of football it happens because we high press all the time and we get tired but it’s something we need to work on on the training ground and I think we will eventually get better with it.Kalvin Phillips
A recurring theme as the Whites missed out on promotion last term and now a new season but the same costly habits.
Five points from a possible 12 at Elland Road when Phillips and Leeds know they should be looking at 12 and a seven-point lead at the top of the division rather then shading first place over Swansea City on goal difference.
Phillips, though, insists the tide will soon turn with the midfielder believing there will be no stopping Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites when they have luck on their side.
Three weeks after being the victims of a smash and grab raid from visiting Swansea City, United looked destined to record their second Elland Road victory of the new season after an own goal from Max Lowe gave the Whites a 20th-minute lead.
It was no less than United deserved with Derby suffocated and smothered by United’s high press with Leeds having 71 per cent of possession in a dominant first-half with eight shots on goal compared to Derby’s zero.
Retribution and revenge for May’s play-offs semi-final loss to the Rams looked inevitable and the second half began in the same fashion with more Whites one-way traffic.
After Patrick Bamford had hit the post, fine work from the striker then presented them with a 70th-minute penalty.
Up stepped Mateusz Klich, who had been as cool as you like in converting from 12 yards in the previous weekend’s 2-0 win at Barnsley only for this time to roll an equally calm penalty shot the wrong side of the post.
Sensing something similar to the feat achieved by Nottingham Forest in last month’s 1-1 draw and also by Swansea, Derby gradually began to up the ante against a Leeds side who could and should have been out of sight but who were left longing for the full-time whistle.
Derby again left Leeds with that all too familiar sinking feeling as substitute Chris Martin finished off a flowing ‘91st-minute’ counter.
The goal was greeted with sheer jubilation by Rams chief Phillip Cocu and his team on the bench but by sheer fury in the Elland Road stands by Whites fans who knew their team should have been home and hosed.
Whilst admitting United had been somewhat complacent, Phillips insisted he had no long-term worries about the recurring theme costing Leeds in this season’s promotion bid.
“The second goal is vital for us,” said Phillips.
“If we are 1-0 up it can get a bit cagey towards the end but once we get that second goal there is no stopping us.
“Obviously, we are disappointed. On another day, we could have won it easily three or four nil and we are very frustrated with the result but overall the performance was a very good performance.
“I think we are just a little bit complacent at times towards the latter stages of the games and with our style of football it happens because we high press all the time and we get tired but it’s something we need to work on on the training ground and I think we will eventually get better with it.”
Leeds dominated from the first whistle with Derby defender Lowe inadvertently putting United ahead when a fierce drive from Stuart Dallas was parried by goalkeeper Kelle Roos only to hit Lowe and be diverted into the net in the 20th minute.
The best chance of eight first-half shots on goal fell to Bamford, who was faced with just Roos to beat after a lovely ball from Gjanni Alioski on his 100th appearance for Leeds.
Bamford, though, saw his attempted lob sail over the bar and the striker was again off target as United’s dominance continued after the break with his attempted sliding finish to a cross from Dallas cannoning off the post in the 47th minute.
Bamford worked his socks off and excellent perseverance from the striker bagged Leeds a 70th-minute penalty after Matthew Clarke clipped his heels.
Up stepped Klich, who sent Roos the wrong way but also the ball the wrong side of the left-hand post.
The miss seemed to leave Leeds stunned with the chances drying up despite the introduction of Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah from the bench.
Panic set in both in the stands and on the pitch with Leeds then unable to keep out Derby in a stoppage-time counter from which Martin calmly slotted the ball past Kiko Casilla.
Reflecting on what can be done to ensure United are more ruthless in front of goal, Phillips reasoned: “I think we can work on it more but I think it comes down to luck.
“Pat (Bamford) has got into so many good positions and he has hit the post and but for Klichy missing the pen, we could have easily come away with a good win, a good three or four nil win but I think it’s just down to luck really.
“Once we get those goals I think there will be no stopping us.”
Leeds United: Casilla, Alioski, White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips, Shackleton, Hernandez (Douglas 73), Harrison (Costa 58), Klich, Bamford (Nketiah 79). Unused substitutes: Meslier, Berardi, Gotts, Roberts.
Derby County: Roos, Lowe, Clarke, Keogh, Malone, Huddlestone, Bielik (Paterson 61), Holmes, Waghorn, Jozefzoon (Knight 83), Marriott (Martin 73). Unused substitutes: Dowell, Hamer, Davies, Buchanan.
Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).