There is one word that stands out in Luke Ayling’s message to the Leeds United fans after their 3-2 victory over Ipswich Town on Saturday: ‘battling’.
Leeds have certainly picked up three points in more free-flowing fashion this season and, while it is far too early for the phrase ‘hallmark of champions’ to rear its head, the hard-fought victory against Mick McCarthy’s high-flying side is the sort of result Leeds failed to grind out in the ruinous final few months of last season.
Leeds were indebted to a bizarre own goal from Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski after first half strikes from Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Kalvin Phillips but the supporters will not care.
The win keeps Leeds top of the Championship table, albeit on goal difference, while simultaneously opening up a five point gap between themselves and Ipswich Town.
No wonder Elland Road is rocking at the moment. Leeds fans have rarely seen more entertaining football in West Yorkshire over the last ten years or so but seeing off Ipswich proves that they can also snatch a win when not quite at their best – and that is usually a sign of a serious side.
And Ayling, whose bargain signing from Bristol City last summer looks more inspired by the week, perhaps sums up the mentality of the new-look Leeds better than anyone.
Good battling performance from us today... good 3 points after last week!!! Home fans once again #mot— Luke Ayling (@lukeayling_8) September 23, 2017
You were rock solid today you should be proud of yourself stopped two goals today my man of the match once again #Lufc— Robbie Mcewan (@robbomcewan) September 23, 2017
best RB in the league by a clear mile— brandon (@brandongledhill) September 23, 2017
The new mr motivator today Luke !! Different gravy fella excellent performance again !!— gary mills (@millsyleeds) September 23, 2017
Saiz.. Alioski.. etc.. all very good players. You mate, have been vital for us both this and last season. Probably the most reliable— Paul Hewson (@MonkeyWauly) September 23, 2017