Marcelo Bielsa plays it down but Leeds United deliver best home display of season against Middlesbrough

Two goals: Mateusz Klich.
Two goals: Mateusz Klich.

Marcelo Bielsa was able to reflect on an outstanding display by his team as Leeds United made it five wins in a row with a 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

The Whites dominated as they had in many matches this season, but had more luck in front of goal and showed more of a ruthless steak as they enjoyed their biggest margin victory of the season so far.

In the process they made it a perfect November and went to the top of the Championship once again.

"We defended very well. We kept discipline in every moment," said Bielsa.

"We had a lot of mobility, variety to the attack, we made a lot of effort to defend.

"There was a moment in the first half that we didn't create a lot of chances but we didn't suffer as well.

"It's important, we have to say that Middlesbrough missed seven or eight injured players, that was important, they lost a bit of impact. The players they missed were important players and if they had all the players maybe the match would be more difficult.

"I think that the players who weren't in for Middlesbrough today; their full-back, two centre-backs, playmakers, too many important players out of the team to think that Middlesbrough we've seen today is the real Middlesbrough. But we have to say that from minute 10 to minute 30, both teams played quite similar. We scored in the beginning of the first half and the end of the first half, sometimes this fact makes the development of the match easier.

"It's important (to be top of the table), but we all know there is a long way to go. The most important thing is the regularity in every match.

"In whatever competition when you win five matches it is good. But we know we won two of the matches at the end so there are a lot of details we have to analyse. It is not just about winning, you have to analyse every match."

On individual players within the team, Bielsa added: "Helder Costa stepped forward, he scored and he is developing, but he can show more impact on the game than he showed. He is improving every week.

"It is important to have two options in each position and both at the same level so we are happy Eddie (Nketiah) has come back. Step by step he will get his fitness back.

"Mateusz Klich has shown an ability to shoot from outside the box and we hope he can repeat this kind of shot in the future."

Leeds were sent on the way to their big win with a goal inside three minutes as a good run and cross bvy Jack Harrison gave Patrick Bamford a chance with a header. His effort was pushed away by Boro keeper Aynsley Pears, but the ball was quickly chipped back in by Pablo Hernandez right on to the head of Bamford, who took great delight in scoring against his former team.

It could have been 3-0 in the first seven minutes as United swarmed all over their visitors, but Bamford's snap shot after he had chested the ball down in the area was well saved by Pears and Luke Ayling shot over when well placed in the box.

Ayling had already had another shot in the first minute as he made space nicely on the edge of the box only to hit his left foot effort over.

Middlesbrough managed one reply with Lewis Wing shooting wide from the edge of the area, but although they improved to have some possession after their difficult start they were never a threat to score.

Leeds struggled for chances for a spell before Bamford saw a header comfortably saved by Pears and they scored eight at the end of three minutes of added time, Mateusz Klich's shot going in via a deflection after Bamford had been played in down the side and saw his first effort half-blocked.

With the breathing space the Whites went back on the attack straight after the restart with Harrison's angled drive being well saved by Pears and Klich shooting over from the edge of the area.

Bamford was put through by Stuart Dallas only to see his shot saved by the legs of Pears.

Helder Costa saw a shot cleared and Dallas sent an effort over from 20 yards after finding himself free to meet Hernandez's pull back.

The one-way traffic continued and United finally had their third goal when Costa ran into the box and beat Pears with a powerful shot for his first goal in a league game at Elland Road.

Five minutes later it was 4-0 as a well worked short corner gave Klich time on the edge of the box and he curled a beauty of shot into the top corner for his second of the afternoon.

Marcus Tavernier did manage Boro's only shot on target with a free-kick from the edge of the box, but Leeds could have had another before the end when only another superb save by Pears denied Kalvin Phillips after the “Yorkshire Pirlo's” well struck free-kick appeared to be heading for the roof of the net.

Ex-Leeds favourite Jonathan Woodgate, now in charge of the Middlesbrough side, was full of praise for his former team.

He said: "No excuses, we got beat by a better team.

"Leeds are a really, really good team, the best team in the Championship without a doubt.

"We worked as hard as we could, but Leeds are a top team coached by a top manager. They have improved their team massively and we lost a lot of players in the summer and replaced them with younger players.

"It was a big turning point when they got the second goal. But my players gave me everything they had. They were just beaten by a really good team.

"I wish them all the best, I know what a top club they are from playing for them in the Premier League. If they get in the Premier League it'll be some train to get on, it'll only go one way. I've been there. It's an incredible club."

"The reception the fans gave me was unbelievable. Obviously I couldn't clap them at the time as we were getting beat."

Match facts

Leeds United 4

(Bamford 3, Klich 45+3, 73, Costa 68)

Middlesbrough 0

Championship

Attendance: 35,626

Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper, Dallas, Phillips (Berardi 83), Costa (Alioski 76), Klich, Hernandez, Harrison, Bamford (Nketiah 79).

Middlesbrough: Pears, Howson, McNair, Ayala, Fry, Bola, Wing (Liddle 69), Saville, Tavernier, Fletcher (Walker 90), Assombalonga (O'Neil 76).

Referee: Keith Stroud