Daniel Farke saw two sides to his Leeds team in a pulsating 3-2 win over 10-man Middlesbrough at Elland Road which keeps them firmly in the Championship’s automatic promotion hunt.
Leeds attacked at pace in a frantic first half which saw all five goals scored, but Farke was just as pleased with the way they ground out the victory in the second period.
Farke admitted: “As a manager I liked the second half where we didn’t make mistakes. It was good game management.
“I can see why we are driven by our emotions and sometimes play the risky pass when we should take another option.”
Farke was delighted with his side’s showing against a team he rates as genuine play-off contenders.
He said: “I expected a great game against a tough side, and I judge them as one of our main competitors for the top six.
“It was important to be over-aggressive and fully committed (in the first half) against Middlesbrough, otherwise you are punished.
“The goals were a sign of how desperate we were and how we wanted to win.
“When you give moments away against a side like Middlesbrough, they will punish mistakes. Their first goal we opened up, and the second goal we were not fully switched on.
“Every fan who enjoys football must have enjoyed this game.”
Middlesbrough claimed an early lead as Emmanuel Latte Lath fired home at the near post, cutting in from the left after being set up by Alex Bangura.
Leeds hit back with two quickfire headers from Dan James and Crysencio Summerville as the visitors paid the price for being beaten in the air by two of the home side’s smallest players.
James got on the end of Sam Byram’s deep cross despite the attentions of two defenders and Summerville finished a cross from Archie Gray at the opposite post.
Middlesbrough lost experienced defender Paddy McNair to injury just after the half hour and his replacement, Matt Clarke, gave away the penalty from which Leeds scored their third.
Clarke used his arm to trip striker Georginio Rutter and Joel Piroe scored from the spot.
Latte Lath reduced the arrears with a header from Dan Barlaser’s corner late in the first half but neither side were able to find the target after the break.
Boro goalkeeper Seny Dieng denied Patrick Bamford and Piroe with a late double save and Boro’s Sammy Silvera hit a post as the visitors played the final 30 minutes with 10 men following Anfernee Dijksteel’s second yellow card.
A disappointed Michael Carrick admitted his side could have got a point from the game had they taken their chances.
He said: “Disappointed is my overriding feeling. Not with the boys and their performance but with the result.
“We were up against it. We had issues that we need to fix a bit but in general there were loads of good things from it and we let it slip and should have got something from the game.
“We came here and played one of the top teams in the league and gave as good as we got. They look dangerous and can score goals.
“It’s something we have done pretty well lately – defend our goal. We need to do something about it (conceding away from home) to be where we want to be at the end of the season.
“We picked up a couple of setbacks and we had big moments in the game, but we were right in there and we should have got more from the game.”
Carrick admitted allowing Leeds chances in a full Elland Road made it harder for his side.
“In a stadium like this and a team like this they will have moments. In games like this that split second of thinking can be the difference,” he said.
“We were playing against a good team, and you’ve got to respect what they can do.”