Derby boss Steve McClaren names Leeds United difference maker

Leeds United

Mirco Antenucci scored two goals as Leeds United beat Derby County.

The Rams remained atop the Championship table following the defeat at Elland Road, but the gap was closed to one point with Ipswich recording victory.

The 2-0 win was a great result for the Whites, as it allowed them to move five points clear of the final relegation place, whilst also becoming their second consecutive home victory under Neil Redfearn. Leeds put in a promising performance, allowing Derby to dominate with little effect in front of a well-constructed defensive unit, before 30-year-old Antenucci scored either side of half time to claim a deserved victory.

Not only has the result lifted Leeds away from the relegation zone they could have been occupying if they had lost, it has also raised spirits in the Yorkshire club’s ranks, with the knowledge and belief that they can now defeat anyone in the division, having overcome a Derby side believed to be the most talented Championship team in recent history.

Leeds were lucky with some of the decisions throughout the game, with Derby deserving of a penalty for a foul on Cyrus Christie that was awarded outside of the box, but they well deserved their win, even if Rams head coach Steve McClaren feels the result was down to Derby under-performing, rather than the Whites playing well.

Speaking to the Burton Mail, McClaren said: “We were below our best and when you are that, you can get beaten.

“We had chances. I've seen them again, and on another day we could have scored three or four but I think we could have played to midnight and not scored.”

However, McClaren did concede that Leeds had a player that could do something that none of the Derby players could - with Mirco Antenucci making the difference in front of the Elland Road crowds.

“Leeds had somebody in Antenucci who did something we couldn't do,” he added. “Put the ball in the net.”

Leeds will be keen to continue their good run of form against the Championship high-fliers this weekend, with a visit to second-placed Ipswich Town on Saturday.

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