A goal in each half saw Leeds United overcome a poor Ipswich Town team to go back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
Kemar Roofe’s first goal since his return from injury and a Liam Cooper thunderbolt ensured the Whites were back in the winners’ circle as they overcame a sluggish start to overrun their bottom of the table opponents.
It was tough for United initially as their play lacked the precision required, but they hit a purple patch after the break and could count themselves unlucky not to have won by five or six at the end.
Leeds’ luck looked out again early on as Jack Harrison’s cross was spilled by Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, but just evaded the following up Roofe.
Former United loanee Matthew Pennington had the first real chance for Ipswich with a header from a free-kick directed straight at Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Jon Nolan then scuffed a shot wide from the edge of the box before the Whites’ first real opportunity saw them go ahead as Samuel Saiz found Pablo Hernandez in space on the right and the Spanish winger supplied a teasing cross that was headed in by Roofe.
Saiz and Luke Ayling both saw shots blocked when in promising positions and it remained hard work up to half-time with the score still 1-0.
The second half brought more action with Stuart Dallas shooting wide after being teed up on the edge of the box by Ezgjan Alioski and the Northern Irishman then seeing another effort deflected just wide.
A second goal looked to be coming as Hernandez’s cross-shot was palmed away and from their tenth corner of the night Leeds broke the Ipswich resistance.
Hernandez and substitute Tom Pearce worked a short corner and the latter’s pull back found skipper Cooper, who was still coming up from the back and lashed in a beauty of a strike from the edge of the box.
Cue a real onslaught when somehow the visitors’ goal survived conceding further. Alioski could not believe his luck with a great curling strike that hit the angle of post and crossbar and six more efforts rained in on Ipswich in the next six minutes.
Mateusz Klich, Ayling and Hernandez all saw efforts go close while Adam Forshaw’s fine strike was superbly saved by Bialkowski and Alioski’s near post shot was beaten away by the keeper.
Finally, Roofe’s flick from Alioski’s cross went just the wrong side of the post and Leeds had to settle for a 2-0 win.
Ipswich did have one late chance with Nolan turning well to work space in the box only to see his shot well saved low down by Peacock-Farrell.
Head coach Bielsa was relieves to see his side back to winning ways and pleased with the second half display.
He said: “It was a necessary win and it was the result we wanted.
“It was two different halves. In the second half we had a fluidity in the game we didn’t have in the first.
“Our team was constantly offensive. We had 10 chances to score a goal and in the second half we defended well.
“In the first half it was hard for us to get rid of the way the opponents played the game.
“The long balls of the opponent to their right-back so he could head the ball was happening in the first half. We spent many minutes not playing. We had the obligation to change this and to do that we had to make the right pass between the defence and attack.
“At the end of the day we had more possession, we had many chances to score and it was a deserved victory.
“At Blackburn we created only five chances and they were not as good. In this game we made very few defensive mistakes and it was hard for the opponent to have a chance to score against us.
“In the last game we made it easy for our opponent to have success. Tonight the opposite happened.”
Bielsa confirmed that Gaetano Berardi had to go off after picking up a muscular injury and he will be doubtful for Saturday’s next game against Nottingham Forest.
Leeds United 2
(Roofe 22, Cooper 66)
Ipswich Town 0
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Berardi (Dallas 27), Phillips, Cooper, Ayling, Klich, Alioski, Hernandez, Saiz (Forshaw 58), Harrison (Pearce 60), Roofe.
Ipswich: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Nolan, Skuse (Chalobah 84), Downes, Edun (Ward 62), Jackson, Sears (Edwards 76).
Referee: Craig Pawson.