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Leeds Player Ratings: Blackburn 1-3 Leeds

A dominant victory in a must-win game keeps Leeds ahead of the chasing pack.

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Leeds celebrate Klich’s goal
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport/Getty Images

Leeds United went to Ewood Park knowing that it was vital to pick up all three points. With promotion rivals Fulham, Brentford and West Brom all having more comfortable opponents it was important for United not to allow the chasing pack to catch up.

Leeds took an early lead through Patrick Bamford and were able to double their lead from a superb Kalvin Phillips free kick, the first Leeds have scored since Pablo Hernandez back at the end of 2017. An Adam Armstrong free kick at the start of the second half threatened to turn this into a more competitive game but Mateusz Klich scored just five minutes after to ensure United left Lancashire with all the points.

Time now to look at each player and how they performed. As always you can tell me how wrong I am @mightywhitespod or @ThruItAllLUFC on twitter.

Starting Line-Up

Illan Meslier - Outside of an early flurry after Leeds had taken the lead, the Frenchman went rather untested. He was rooted to the spot for Armstrong’s free kick but there was little he could have done about it. At times he was a bit too eager to get the ball up field and rushed his throws but very little came of it. 6/10

Luke Ayling - A slightly subdued performance from the right back, especially in the first half. He began to establish more of a connection with Harrison as the game progressed and pushed forward more frequently, winning a couple of headers inside Blackburn’s penalty area. 7/10

Ben White - A nervy start from both of Leeds’ central defenders saw Blackburn able to find space in the middle around the United penalty area. After that short spell, however, White was back to his silky best. His timing in challenges was excellent and on a number of occasions he was able to stroll into Blackburn territory to start attacks. 8/10

Liam Cooper - Like White, he found himself dragged out of position early which allowed Rovers space to get shots away. Once that short lived siege ended Cooper had a steady game with very little to challenge him. 6/10

Barry Douglas - Douglas started out the game like someone who hasn’t played a lot of football this season. When Blackburn were applying pressure he looked panicked and ready to just get the ball away. The second half saw something more like the Barry Douglas of old. He combined well with Alioski, getting to the bi-line and putting in some good crosses. 7/10

Kalvin Phillips - Having joked earlier in the week that Leeds would score from a corner he would have been disappointed had it not been for his excellent free kick that curled over the wall and into the top corner. He conceded the free kick that resulted in Blackburn’s goal but it appeared to be a harsh decision. With Leeds facing little pressure in the second half he was able to play higher up and stroke the ball around. 7/10

Mateusz Klich - After a number of quiet performances since the restart Klich got to work early, winning the ball back outside the Rovers penalty area before playing Bamford in to score. He picked up a yellow card for what can only be called a cynical challenge but throughout the game he was constantly involved in the final third and was rewarded with Leeds’ third goal. 7/10

Jack Harrison - Moving to the right-hand side to accommodate Alioski, Harrison had a fairly quiet first half but was able to get at replacement left-back Stewart Downing more in the second. He was fortunate to get away with a strange run across his own penalty area before being dispossessed with Holtby slotting home but the referee had already blown up. He put in a decent number of crosses but nothing that really concerned Blackburn. 6/10

Tyler Roberts - Finding a lot of space between the lines, Roberts did well dropping off to receive the ball and take defenders on. Whilst he didn’t trouble the keeper he was able to keeper the Rovers defenders occupied until he was replaced by Pablo Hernandez. 6/10

Gjanni Alioski - Like Harrison, Alioski had a fairly quite first half with a lot of the Whites attacking play coming through the middle. The Macedonian tirelessly chased and harassed the Rovers defenders and goalkeeper like you expect a man of his ilk to after being locked in a house for 3 months. 6/10

Patrick Bamford - The early goal was a clear boost to his confidence. He worked hard closing down defenders and was making some of the best runs I’ve seen him make in a while. Like Cardiff he managed to block a Jack Harrison shot but was able to control it before his shot on the turn struck the post. 7/10

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Bamford celebrating his goal with Klich
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Substitutes

Pablo Hernandez (for Roberts, 61mins) - It was surprising to see the Spaniard take to the field with Leeds comfortably in control but Bielsa must have wanted him to get some minutes in. As he has since the restart he found pockets of space to work in and constantly kept Leeds on the front foot. 6/10

Jamie Shackleton (for Klich, 89mins) - It would’ve been nice to see the Leeds lad get on earlier with Leeds in such a position but the game was already over when he entered it. N/A