Five things learned from Leeds United's 2-0 win over Derby: Antenucci, Bellusci & Warnock feature

Elland Road pitchside

Five conclusions from Leeds' 2-0 win over Championship leaders Derby.

A result befitting Leeds history

After Leeds United's struggles this season, their 2-0 win over Derby County was a welcome reminder of how things used to be at Elland Road.

It may have been an off-colour Derby side but Neil Redfearn's men did what they haven't been doing for most of the campaign so far by closing the game out. The result may have been more impressive than the performance but beating the league leaders is a real statement from Leeds.

Antenucci the man for the job

And the man who scored both of the Yorkshire side's goals is enjoying a fine season indeed since joining from Italy. Mirco Antenucci is now Leeds' top scorer in the Championship and few can complain about his performances in a white shirt so far.

Boss Redfearn praised his awareness and both of the 30-year-old's finishes and a clinical striker such as Antenucci can be the difference between staying up and relegation, finishing mid-table or making the play-offs and even, in some cases, automatic promotion. If the Italian can keep it up, Leeds' goal tally should increase exponentially.

Bellusci selection justified? But Pearce will get his chance

At the back, meanwhile, Redfearn surprised a few by leaving out captain Jason Pearce. The 49-year-old faces a tough decision on a weekly basis, with Pearce, Liam Cooper and Giuseppe Bellusci all capable defenders.

On this occasion, the Leeds boss partnered the Italian with Cooper to achieve a balance between a left-footed and right-footed centre-back and it paid off, as Bellusci played well and Derby were stopped from scoring. Pearce, though, will get his chance again...

Warnock wonder

Another member of Leeds' back four to shine was Stephen Warnock - and the former Liverpool and Aston Villa full-back appears to have silenced his critics for good.

Earlier this season, the 32-year-old was out of favour with some fans and was even dropped from the first team. Now, however, Warnock looks undroppable.

Looking up

So where next for Leeds?

One win should not lead the Elland Road faithful to get carried away but three points against the league leaders is certainly a cause for optimism. With the right attitude and the right amount of composure (especially in the late stages of games, when silly mistakes have been Leeds' achilles heel) Redfearn's side can gain momentum and push up the Championship table.

Right now, United are only eight points off the play-offs and, such is the topsy-turvy nature of the division, that gap could reduce very quickly - so long as Leeds approach with caution.

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