CAPTAIN Liam Bridcutt says the current Leeds United side have already created their own little slice of history by putting the club in its best shape for the last 15 years.
Leeds further strengthened their push for promotion to the Premier League with Friday night’s 3-1 victory at Birmingham City in which Chris Wood took his seasonal tally to 25 with a brace.
Wood lobbed United into a 14th-minute lead and though Craig Gardner levelled matters with a fine strike three minutes after the hour, Bridcutt and Leeds would not be denied.
After somewhat riding their luck – including when Robert Tesche’s shot crashed against the crossbar – United regained the lead through Wood’s tap-in after 67 minutes and then went 3-1 up with nine minutes left through Spanish winger Alfonso Pedraza.
Pedraza, signed on loan from Villarreal, could become a Leeds player for around 10 million euros should fourth-placed United seal promotion and a place back in the Premier League after a 13-year absence.
But after miserable seasons in the Premier League in both 2002 and 2003, Bridcutt says the Whites are already in their best shape for a decade-and-a-half.
Asked if the current season could be a historic one for Leeds United, Bridcutt reasoned: “I think we have already set history. I think this is probably the best Leeds side you have seen in the last 15 years and that is all credit to the management and the players.
“We made it difficult for ourselves (at Birmingham) and we weren’t at our best. To score three goals, then, says a lot for the team and it says a lot for what the manager has done since he has come in along with the attitude of the boys to go and progress.”
Leeds opened an 11-point gap back to the teams outside of the play-offs with Friday night’s victory but seventh-placed Fulham cut the deficit to eight with Saturday’s 3-1 victory at home to Preston. United visit Fulham tomorrow night for a key game in the race to finish in the play-offs given that the Cottagers also have a game in hand.
Leeds also closed the gap on second-placed Brighton, whose 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest left the Seagulls only seven points clear of United, who Brighton will take on at Elland Road a week on Saturday.
Assessing United’s chances of finishing in the top two, Bridcutt said: “I don’t want to put anything out there but we are making it difficult for teams. It’s up to the other teams now to see if they can go and do it but we are here to win every game and put pressure on the teams that are above us.”