Leeds United are not in the Premier League yet, warns Gjanni Alioski

Leeds United went back to the top of the Championship and all but knocked Fulham out of the race for automatic promotion on Saturday, but they are refusing to take anything for granted with seven matches still to play.

Gianni Alioski celebrates his goal against Fulham (Picture: Simon Hulme)

The Whites took advantage of West Bromwich Albion’s Friday-night defeat at Brentford by beating Fulham 3-0 to retake leadership of the division.

With Nottingham Forest beating Huddersfield Town on Sunday, the Cottagers are down to fifth, and could be without the division’s joint top-scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic for much of the rest of the season through suspension. Mitrovic elbowed Ben White in an incident referee Tony Harrington appeared to miss but the television cameras did not.

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More importantly for Leeds, their gap to the Baggies is three points and they are eight points ahead of the Bees, who are now third. It is a big gap, but not one Gjanni Alioski is taking for granted.

Leeds United's Ezgjan Alioski (left) celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Fulham (Picture: PA)

“At the moment it’s nice (to be top of the table),” said the versatile Macedonian who scored the second goal of the game. “We were top for a long time, we can keep this (position) and we want to keep this until the end.

“It’s an amazing feeling not just because we’re on top but because it was 3-0.

“It’s a big win.

“It was not easy. I am very proud that we could take this victory.

Leeds United's Pablo Hernandez is challenged by Tom Cairney (Picture: Simon Hulme)

“But there is nothing to celebrate.

“These are only numbers. Eight, ten points we are still saying nothing.”

Leeds went into half-time 1-0 up through Patrick Bamford’s precise finish, yet Fulham had much the better of the first 45 minutes.

That changed thanks to the half-time introduction of Alioski and Pablo Hernandez, which also allowed Tyler Roberts to move up to centre-forward.

“It’s not easy for us as players to always stay on top because of how we work,” warned Alioski, whose team had lost their first game back after the coronavirus pandemic at Cardiff City.

“You want to play game by game and take the points.

“There’s still seven games to play and it’s a lot. We need to win other games.

“Ten points (the gap to Fulham) is a bonus for us but we go game to game like we don’t have 10 points more than the other teams.

“On the pitch you don’t feel you’re 10 points in front.

“Everything can happen in football.

“In (Saturday’s) first half nobody expected Leeds like (to play) this. We just need to focus game by game.”

Head coach Marcelo Bielsa also talked down the significance of Leeds’s advantage.

“In every match now we are going to talk about numbers in the table but it is very difficult to read too much into the table at this stage,” he cautioned.

The Football Association are expected to review Mitrovic’s 87th-second challenge on White after the Serbian appeared to take a look then thrust his elbow into the centre-back’s head off the ball.

White was able to play on but Hernandez, whose creativity was a big factor in turning the flow if not the outcome of the game, was substituted in first-half stoppage time.

Bielsa played it down, however, saying it was a precautionary move and none of the players he substituted were injured.

Leeds can open the gap to West Bromwich Albion by beating Luton Town at home tomorrow.

The Baggies are at a revitalised Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday.

Brentford will look to continue their 100 per cent record in the early stages of the resumption at Reading tomorrow.

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