LEEDS UNITED head coach Marcelo Bielsa has pointed to last week’s dramatic Champions League turnarounds as proof that the play-off semi-final with Derby Count is far from over.
The Elland Road club will go into Wednesday night’s return leg with a precious 1-0 lead thanks to Kemar Roofe’s first goal since January.
United’s victory was not without controversy, Derby manager Frank Lampard having been left incandescent after referee Craig Pawson rescinded his penalty award to the Rams following consultation with his linesman.
Had the original decision stood the likelihood is the complexion of the tie would look very different – something that Bielsa believes should serve as a warning.
“It is an advantage, but not decisive,” said the Argentinian at the end of a week in which Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur reached the Champions League final via two of the most spectacular comebacks in the competition’s history.
“We still have 90 minutes to play. When we just have a difference of one goal it is not decisive.
“If we take as a reference what happened in the Champions League, we should not think it is done.
“It was painful for us to miss out on the top two, but we took the play-offs as an important opportunity. We should value the opportunity of having a new possibility.”
Roofe’s goal was his first since scoring in January’s 2-0 home victory over Derby.
It took his tally against Lampard’s Rams for the season to four, a record Roofe is desperate to improve in the return leg.
It was painful for us to miss out on the top two. But we took the play-offs as an important opportunity.Marcelo Bielsa
“I honestly think Wednesday’s game will be the same as this one,” said the 15-goal United top scorer.
“They won’t change and we won’t.
“We are disappointed not to make automatic (promotion), but we have dusted ourselves down. We can not feel sorry for ourselves.
“Going up is what it is all about.”
Lampard, meanwhile, had plenty to ponder in the wake of his side’s third defeat of the season against Leeds.
The Derby chief is hoping Martyn Waghorn can return from the Achilles injury that kept him out on Saturday.
Asked what he expects from the Elland Road return, the former England international said: “Their fans will be pumped because they are at home and they will be confident because they are 1-0 up.
“I don’t mind that challenge, it is not the worst. I don’t mind losing a play-off, they are hard games.
“But I don’t want to lose by not playing the way we can. I wanted to win the first leg and I wanted us to play better.
“We didn’t have confidence on the ball, people weren’t playing angles.
“The speed of Leeds press means you have to have balls on the pitch to receive it and we went away from that a little bit.
“That is my message, I suppose.”
Leeds will welcome back striker Patrick Bamford from suspension for the second leg, while Swedish defender Pontus Jansson could also return after an ankle problem.
Match report , analysis and pictures: Page 3