Raising the Roofe: No pressure on Leeds ahead of play-offs '“ Leeds United 3 Preston NE 0

WINGER Kemar Roofe said Leeds United were thriving in exceeding expectations after moving a huge step closer to sealing a Championship play-off place.

Kemar Roofe celebrates his opening goal for Leeds against Preston at Elland Road. PIC: Bruce Rollinson

Roofe’s third goal of the season together with strikes from Pablo Hernandez and, in stoppage time, Souleymane Doukara gave United victory against Preston at a sun-drenched Elland Road. The visitors, whose own play-off hopes werer dealt a big blow, had defender Alex Baptiste shown a straight red card in the 86th minute for his crude challenge on Hernandez.

With sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday beating Newcastle and seventh-placed Fulham beating Ipswich, defeat would have left fifth-placed Leeds with just a two-point cushion to the team outside of the play-off places with five games to go.

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Instead, United still have a five-point buffer and Roofe insisted that his side would approach the Championship run-in feeling no pressure in light of the club already surpassing their expectations.

“None of us feel pressure because no-one expected this at the start of the season,” said Roofe.

“I guarantee that if you’d asked anyone at the start of the season ‘where do you expect us to finish?’ probably no-one would have said the play-offs or promotion but we’re doing that.

“To be honest, if you asked me, I don’t even know where we are in the league. It doesn’t bother us. We just take it game by game.

“We’ve got confidence in ourselves because we know how hard we work through the week. We don’t mess about and, as long as we take care of ourselves, we’ve got a good chance.

“We’re playing with confidence and we were allowed to play with a bit more freedom (against Preston). It showed in our performance.”

Leeds United: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi, Vieira, Phillips, Roofe (Dallas 70), Hernandez (Taylor 89), Pedraza, Wood (Doukara 79). Unused substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Taylor, O’Kane, Barrow.

Preston North End: Maxwell, Vermijl (Johnson 60), Clarke, Baptiste, Huntington, Cunningham, Pearson, McGeady, Gallagher (Makienok 71), Robinson (Beckford 71), Barkhuizen. Unused substitutes: Lindegaard, Spurr, Browne, Horgan.

Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).