LEEDS United boss Neil Warnock believes his team have put a marker down for the rest of the season after playing well in an unlucky 1-0 defeat to Southampton at Elland Road on Saturday.
Warnock was pleased with the commitment and hard work shown by his players and said that he now expects the same from them every week from now on.
He said: “We played the top of the league and absolutely battered them.
“I couldn’t fault the effort, we got the crowd going because of the way we played and the way we drove on.
“We dominated so much. The fans were great and it was exciting stuff. Unfortunately not the right result, but a lot to work with.
“We have 12 games left and we have got to give that commitment. That is the minimum I expect.
“I think players now know they want to be here. It is a fabulous place and a great crowd.
“Some of the players will never have worked as hard as that but they will enjoy the challenge and I am looking forward to it.
“You don’t always get what you deserve, I know that from experience. But I’ve enjoyed it – I know we’ve lost, but it whets the appetite really.
“I think the players have surprised themselves if I’m honest, not just the way we played, but the style.
“Their goalkeeper could have won five man of the match awards, but the finishing could have been better.
“We dominated the best side in the league for 89 minutes and that’s fantastic.
“It was disappointing to lose, but in another way I was quite proud as we gave the fans something to cheer about.
“I like the fans to go home thinking that was good. I want excitement and end-to-end football at a hostile Elland Road.”
Warnock was unhappy his side had not been given an early penalty when Southampton defender Jose Fonte blocked Robert Snodgrass’s goalbound effort and did plenty of remonstrating with the fourth official on the sideline.
He said afterwards: “You expect a referee or linesman to see the blatant handball at 0-0 and that changes the whole game. They have to come out more.
“I went in to see the referee and linesman and they said that in the incident none of our players appealed or even went to the referee.
“I said, ‘okay, but I have told them not to do that’. Maybe I will have to instruct my lads to harass them and make sure we get round the referee like Southampton did for Michael Brown’s booking.”