Daniel Farke admits relief over Leeds United defender issue but Leicester City show was no surprise

BIG PERFORMANCE - Daniel Farke's Leeds United were well worth their 1-0 win over Leicester City at the Kingpower Stadium as Georginio Rutter scored a second half winner. Pic: Bruce Rollinson
BIG PERFORMANCE - Daniel Farke's Leeds United were well worth their 1-0 win over Leicester City at the Kingpower Stadium as Georginio Rutter scored a second half winner. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Farke felt his men were well worth their 1-0 victory, which handed the Foxes only their second league defeat of the season and a first since the start of September, having created the better chances and then dug in to defend and restrict Leicester at the other end. Leeds made strong starts to both halves but were only able to take the lead just before the hour mark through Georginio Rutter. That goal proved enough for the visitors, who were indebted to goalkeeper Illan Meslier's stoppage time wondersave and able to enjoy wild full-time celebrations on the Kingpower Stadium pitch.

“I’m not surprised, just happy because you never know that it works in this way but I know what we're capable of, I totally believe in my players,” said a delighted Farke. “I was confident we could dominate. I was just a bit concerned we didn't reward ourselves from such good periods but we kept going and we were good when we had to stay structured and sit a bit deeper. Especially in the second half you could see the goal coming. In total it was a really good game, I liked a lot Leicester’s performance in possession but it was a well deserved win. We had the better chances.”

Farke spoke before the game of the need to show bravery, not only in possession but in the way they went after Leicester with a high press, and he felt his players delivered on both fronts: “I think to be brave, to play football with courage and to go for it with confidence was the key. They're such a good football side, possession side, they have had one of if not the best start in the Championship, unbeaten in months. You have to be brave, you have to bring it to their half, press them really high, hurt them with your possession. You have periods where you have to be structured, let them have the ball in areas where they can't hurt you. This was so complicated, to bring such a complex performance, to be brave, to be good with the ball, to dominate in many periods, to stay disciplined, well structured. For that I have to praise my lads a lot for this complex performance.”

The winner – a close range effort from a rebound after Sam Byram’s header was saved – ended Rutter’s eight-game goalless run and it was just reward in Farke’s eyes, for the striker’s recent contibution to the team. His chance-creation statistics are the best in the division by some distance and the Frenchman has added five assists in his last 10 outings, but Farke wants to see Rutter hit the net with the same frequency.

“I'm delighted for him, he's working so hard for us, he's great in his linking of play, creating chances for team-mates,” said the German. “That he scores today in this manner, a typical striker's goal to be there for the rebound, I'm delighted for him. It's crucial to be there with a decisive goal, it's a sign of quality. He's definitely on the right path.”

Another player who came in for praise for what he produced in the second half was Sam Byram, whose performance after the break came as a huge relief to Farke. Byram was given a torrid time of it in the first half by Leicester winger Abdul Fatawu, who drew fouls from the full-back that led to a yellow card. Fatawu almost opened the scoring after twice beating Byram and crashing a shot beyond Illan Meslier, the crossbar coming to Leeds’ rescue. After the break it was a different story, however. Byram did have help, though, from Crysencio Summerville, who tracked back from his wing position to help frustrate Fatawu.

"Relieved if I'm honest – he had to play 60 or 70 minutes on a yellow card, you have to be a bit careful so to [then] dominate this duel minute by minute, I'm really pleased with Sam but I have to praise my wingers how they supported my defenders - it's key against Leicester,” added Farke.

The victory narrows the gap between Leicester and third-placed Leeds to 11 points, with second-placed Ipswich Town now six ahead of the Whites before tomorrow’s trip to Birmingham City. League tables are not a fixation for Farke at this stage of the season, he insists: “For us the table is not important at the moment. The only thing that matters is where you are after 46 minutes. Whatever the outcome would be, everything is still possible for both sides in both directions. It’s a massive confidence boost, a big three points, an important clean sheet but Leicester is a good side and I'm sure they'll be in a top position.”