Leeds United start Premier League season with come-from-behind 2-1 Wolves win

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Leeds United's Rodrigo Moreno celebrates scoring against Wolves at Elland Road. Picture: Ian Hodgson/PA Wire
Leeds United's Rodrigo Moreno celebrates scoring against Wolves at Elland Road. Picture: Ian Hodgson/PA Wire

FIRST impressions can be misleading but an exciting season may be on the cards for revamped Leeds United.

There were signs of what they are capable of in their come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Wolves to begin the new Premier League season.

They will head to Southampton on Saturday (3pm) in buoyant mood while the Saints, who finished the last campaign with four successive losses, crashed 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur.

United’s result will be a massive relief for their fans, many of them fearing the worst after the summer sales of top players Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips.

The Whites, who escaped by relegation by their fingernails in May, fielded four debutants in a 4-2-3-1 formation and there is no doubt that some of them found the relentless intensity of the Premier League tough.

But the players fought their way to three precious points and a result was in stark contrast to last season when it took seven games for Leeds to register their first victory in October.

It certainly wasn’t a perfect Leeds performance with several shaky moments at the back but it was entertaining high-energy stuff.

“I am really pleased that we look like a team that understands what the tactics and ideas are with the ball much better than we did last season,” said coach Jesse Marsch.

“It was a big struggle to implement tactically what we want to achieve.

“We still have a lot of work to do but the three points validates the pre-season we have had and the work we have done.”

Poor defensive play led to Wolves’ sixth-minute opener by Daniel Podence, but Leeds didn’t panic and the pressing game favoured by Marsch turned the heat on the Wolves defence.

The visitors were fortunate not to concede a penalty after goalkeeper Jose Sa clattered into Danish defender Rasmus Kristensen but Leeds were rewarded for their attacking enterprise on 24 minutes, gaining possession in the Wolves box for Rodrigo to beat Sa at his near post.

“We find the goal and, in some ways, we were a little bit unlucky not to find the second in the first half,” said Marsch.

“Then to give credit to Wolves they pushed the game really hard and for the first 15 minutes (of the second half) we weren’t at our best, we were running too much.”

Wolves, whose forwards looked threatening, particularly Neto, but lacked a clinical finish badly missed top striker Raul Jimenez.

As Leeds fell off the pace Marsch made his first change just after an hour, sending on Mateusz Klich to inject more energy into the midfield.

It was the Pole, whose Elland Road future is uncertain, who provided the pass 10 minutes later for Patrick Bamford to whip in a cross that was bundled in by a combination of debutant Brenden Aaronson and Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri for the winner.

Leeds will have winger Dan James back after suspension for the Southampton trip but Marsch will probably stick with the side which kick-started the season.