MATCH winner Davide Somma earned the praise of manager Simon Grayson after being the man in the right place at the right time to score his 11th goal of the season for Leeds United on Saturday.
The South African striker has only started 11 games, but has a real eye for goal and made sure the Whites collected their deserved three points against Coventry.
It was an easy tap-in that proved the only goal of an entertaining contest, but Somma justified his manager’s decision to start with him alongside Luciano Becchio in a 4-4-2 with a lively display and was only denied a second goal by a linesman’s flag.
Leeds were denied further goals by visiting keeper Kieren Westwood, a little bad luck and some unusually poor finishing by Becchio, but they were good value for a win that kept them in the play-off places and Grayson was pleased with several individual displays and a rare clean sheet.
He said: “Davide Somma’s got a fantastic knack of knowing where the back of the net is. He’s been brilliant.
“He started the season with a bang and was then out of the team with the formation we’ve been playing, but he’s been coming off the bench to score and his goal ratio to starts is quite phenomenal.
“He knows he’s still got some work to do in his overall play, his combination and link-up play, but he’s certainly got the one thing a striker lives off and that’s knowing where the back of the net is.
“What we’ve seen in training is he has got a natural eye for goal. He can shoot both footed, he’s strong, can hold the ball up and he has all the right ingredients. To go from League Two to the Championship level in less than half a season to be doing what he’s doing shows what he’s capable of. I’m delighted we’ve got him.
“Our two wide players were also exceptional. Both have got fantastic quality, sometimes the full-backs don’t know whether they are going to inside or out because they are both two-footed.
“They’ve got fantastic delivery and quality and the other side of it shouldn’t be missed - the way they help the full-backs out and work for the team.
“I was delighted with the team performance. When you are up against one of Aidy’s teams you are always going to be involved in a physical game where you have to battle and scrap and then try to play your own game as well. We did that
“We started brightly and created some good opportunities, but couldn’t quite get that first goal before half-time. Luciano had a couple of good chances and Max did. But I didn’t think there was too much wrong with the first half, we just had to be patient.
“Obviously we got the goal early in the second half and saw the game off in a professional manner. I’m delighted we did that because it’s difficult when you play Coventry.
“We had a fantastic work ethic and closed them down and when we played we created some real good chances. The overall team performance was pleasing.
“The players’ concentration levels were really high and they put their bodies on the line. You have to do that on a regular basis. We have been punished in the past.
“It’s not just the back four and the goalkeeper that should be happy with the clean sheet, it’s the whole team. Hopefully it’s the start of many more clean sheets.
“It was an important win because we want to maintain our push for a play-off place at least. We know other teams round us are getting wins on a regular basis and we’ve drawn a few lately, but we’ve had some very difficult games.
“We’ve got some games coming up now when we want to replicate this performance.”
Leeds United 1
Coventry City 0
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Leeds: Schmeichel, Connolly (Bromby 83), Bruce, O’Brien, McCartney, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Gradel, Somma (Kilkenny 80), Becchio (Paynter 88).
Coventry: Westwood, Clarke, Wood, Keogh, O’Halloran, Jutkiewicz, Baker, Cranie, Gunnarsson, Platt, Eastwood (McSheffrey 74).
Referee: M Russell.
Picture above shows Jonny Howson celebrating the winning goal with scorer Davide Somma. Photo by Ian Harber