Seriously, what is happening at Elland Road? Three wins in a week, fans chanting their love for Steve Evans, #TimeToGoMassimo marches, guarantees of playoffs and cheaper season tickets. Seems like everything is coming up Milhouse for Leeds United fans….
On the back of a second half appearance - one which Evans dubbed the best of his Elland Road managerial career - Leeds United defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Tuesday night for their third consecutive victory.
This is now the second time Evans has led United to three consecutive league victories this season, a noteworthy achievement considering the circus that has been going on around this football club in 2016. Yet more impressive than the result (one which was glorious), was how United performed on Tuesday night.
Yes, the first half wasn’t a footballing spectacular, but United kept Wolves at bay and managed to create chances. Our favourite Kiwi Chris Wood had multiple opportunities to opening the scoring but failed to break the seal, with the closest being an impressive strike that hit the woodwork from 18 yards.
Then after half-time, the switch flicked. Buoyed by a half-time team talk, United played some of their best football of the season and collected a well-deserved victory. Oh and it always helps when the skipper does this:
Sol Bamba GOAL v Wolverhampton Wanderers #GETIN #LUFC https://t.co/tuyXtYcVob— #WALMOT (@WALMOT3) April 19, 2016
Just do your self a favour, watch that again and enjoy the commentators go CRAZY! It might be the best Leeds highlight of the season. Throw this one in the mixer with Stuart Dallas’ belter from Saturday and Lewis Cook's shot from February in the battle for Leeds United goal of the year.
"I’ve seen him hit 40,000 shots, I’ve never seen him hit one like that." This is how manager Evans described Bamba’s strike. One in 40,000 aye? No better time than the present.
As for the second goal, it was by no means as striking as the first but equally impressive in its own right. Enjoy the vision and I’ll explain:
Toumani Diagouraga GOAL v Wolverhampton Wanderers #LUFC https://t.co/StB42HNRwn— #WALMOT (@WALMOT3) April 19, 2016
This is good, smart football by Leeds. And here’s the best part – it’s very simple and should be sustainable. Pass and move, pass and move, pass and move. This is what my old coach told me as a youngster, and it epitomised that second goal from Toumani Diagouraga.
But it wasn’t just the goals that made this performance against Wolves so beautiful, it was the passages of play that created the chances – the process over results. Do we dare start bringing #TrustTheProcess into the footballing world? Sam Hinkie would be so proud!
Truth be told, United could have scored six or seven goals after the break. But in standard United fashion chances went begging, and goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was forced to deny Wolves substitute Joe Mason in the dying moments to protect all three points. Evans was well aware of this postgame. "But Leeds being Leeds we concede late and have to rely on a big save from our goalkeeper, the one thing he's possibly had to do all evening."
Leeds being Leeds, I couldn’t have said it better myself Steve.
As the final minutes ticked down and Wolves made their final push, a simple thought entered my mind. Why can’t life as a Leeds fan be easy? Why can’t Leeds just have nice things?
But what is Leeds without drama? Nothing is the answer, because that version of Leeds United doesn’t exist.
The past seven days shows the wheel might be turning. Evans has been talking about a top 10 finish recently and surprisingly enough this is within reach. A strong finish could even see Leeds climb as high as seventh, not bad for a side that sacked its coach two months into the season. (Pour one out for Uwe Rösler.)
Make no mistake, United remain an average side - their win loss record of 14-15-14 (W – D – L) personifies as much. But Tuesday shows that Leeds is not a thousand miles away from something. Keep young talent already on the books, retain a manager growing in confidence and who knows…. Sure sounds simple doesn’t it?
Evans will be managing somewhere in England next season, and in my eyes he has earned the opportunity to return as manager of United. Will Massimo agree? Only a crazy person could tell you what he is thinking.
Enjoy the win, Leeds fans, and enjoy Evans's full post-match press conference below. Thanks for reading.