Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray believes his side executed the gameplan perfectly as they condemned Leeds to their first away defeat of the season with a 2-1 victory at Ewood Park.
Although not full of gilt-edged chances, the game was end-to-end and high intensity, with Rovers bursting out of the traps with a Danny Graham header – his fourth goal this term.
Leeds were able to hang in and grabbed a well-worked equaliser in first-half injury-time through Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich’s close-range finish.
It felt like a turning point but Blackburn recovered and Darragh Lenihan’s downward header 20 minutes from time sent the home fans wild and was ultimately enough to move Mowbray’s side fifth in the Championship table for the time being.
After ending a run of three games without a win at home, Mowbray talked about the importance of preparation, and how his team made that count to hurt Leeds.
He said: “We’d had an international break to prepare. It gives the staff a good chance to study the opposition when you’ve got two weeks to watch five or six full games, try to pick their weaknesses and strengths.
“You come up with gameplans and we had two days to put it together. I’m just so pleased for the players really. The set-plays today are something we worked really hard on.
“Pontus Jansson is a monster of a man and (Liam) Cooper is dominant but you take those two out of the box, we felt they were vulnerable, which is what happened.
“Whoever was getting marked by those two played wide; for the first goal Graham came powering through the middle and scored. For the second goal, Lenihan did the same.
“But we had to dig in. They’re a great team, with wonderful footballers and a world-class coach who has got them playing attractive football. It doesn’t mean you should succumb. You have to fight, stand up and be counted. We did that today.”
Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa felt a draw was a fairer result but was critical of his side’s defending.
United, who lost at Blackburn for the first time since November 2014, have now won only one of their last five games.
Bielsa said: “We needed to win this game, especially after the draw in the last home game.
“We didn’t defend as well as we used to do. The offensive players created difficulties for our defence. We could have avoided the goals they scored. Our offensive play was good enough.
“Klich and (Samuel) Saiz had an offensive and positive influence.
“What we can say is that we lost against a rival that is not better than us. Maybe a draw would have better reflected what happened in the game. We played better when Blackburn were winning, and this is a defect.
“The negative results are always a source of worry. I also evaluate the play but the feeling I have for the game of today are better than the recent ones.
“Our offensive play against Brentford was not as good as it was today. I’m talking about the number of chances we had, but how we built the offensive play.
“But with the last draw and today’s loss, we have to conclude we’re in a bad moment.”