Neil Warnock relished his winning return to Elland Road after masterminding Cardiff’s 2-0 win at former club and Sky Bet Championship play-off chasers Leeds.
Cardiff skipper Sean Morrison headed the first goal conceded by Leeds at Elland Road in 630 minutes midway through the second half and striker Kenneth Zohore side-footed home the Welsh club’s second 10 minutes later.
Leeds had won their previous six on home soil, keeping clean sheets in all of them, but Cardiff put more daylight between themselves and the bottom three with a classic away display to silence the home fans in the 31,516 crowd.
“We set our stall out, they’re a good side,” said Warnock, who spent 14 months in charge of Leeds before parting company with the club in April 2013.
“We had to be on top of our game really and I thought the first 20 minutes were really helpful, we quietened the crowd a little bit and didn’t give them much space in midfield to pick the holes, which they’re very good at.
“The longer the game went on the more comfortable we became. From one to 11 today we were fantastic.”
Asked if it was his current side’s best away performance of the season, Warnock said: “By a mile. It’s the best performance since I’ve been at the club.
“It’s the best away performance, in the circumstances, probably since I’ve been a manager because it was almost complete.”
Warnock was not the only former Leeds boss to enjoy his return to the stadium as he was accompanied by assistant Kevin Blackwell, who spent just over two years in charge at Elland Road until September 2006.
“I brought Blacky because I knew he’d get some stick! Whereas I didn’t get any,” Warnock joked.
“To be fair the crowd was very good with us. It was super today. I know they’ve gone home disappointed but they haven’t got to forget where they’ve come from.
“They’ve got a vibrant, young side who had problems they couldn’t solve today but it is an exciting place to be at the minute.
“I’m really pleased for them because the crowd were always waiting for this type of thing to happen and I think it’s finally going to be here.”
Leeds head coach Garry Monk, who Warnock described as his manager of the season, admitted his side had found it hard to make headway against resilient opposition.
“Frustrating day and frustrating result for us,” Monk said.
“I said to the players that’s something new for the group. I think it’s the first time we’ve faced a team who have been set up to frustrate and defend very well, be hard to break down and leave no space behind them.
“We had to try and be patient and move the ball and move their shape to try and create spaces.
“Unfortunately we made two mistakes which cost us two goals and put us out of the game.”
Monk confirmed influential defender Pontus Jansson is not expected to shake off the illness which kept him out in time for Tuesday’s visit of Bristol City.
The former Swansea defender added: “Because of how well we’ve done here, I think teams will come and respect us a little bit - set up in a way Cardiff did.
“It’s for us to face, get ready for and try and overcome.”
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Cooper, Berardi, Bridcutt, Vieira, Dallas, Hernandez, Alfonso Criado, Wood. Subs: Roofe, Doukara, Silvestri, O’Kane, Sacko, Barrow, Coyle.
Cardiff: McGregor, Connolly, Morrison, Bamba, Richards, Halford, Noone, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Kadeem Harris, Zohore. Subs: Bennett, Whittingham, John, Lambert, Murphy, Hoilett, Healey.
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)