Liam Cooper provides update on his fitness after Leeds win

21st August 2018, Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales; EFL Championship football, Swansea City versus Leeds United; Liam Cooper of Leeds United passes the ball during warm up

Liam Cooper played the full 90 minutes as Leeds United extended their lead at the top of the Championship.

Liam Cooper of Leeds United during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday v Leeds United at Hillsborough Stadium on September 28, 2018 in Sheffield, England.

Liam Cooper told Sky Sports' live post-match coverage of Leeds' win over Derby (broadcast on 11/1 from 19:00) that he had no problem coming through the game apart from growing tired as the full-time whistle approached.

Marcelo Bielsa's side stormed to one of their most impressive victories of the campaign as goals from Kemar Roofe and Jack Harrison led to a 2-0 win against the Rams at Elland Road.

 

One of the reasons for the improved performance has to be the return of Cooper. The captain had been missing since the early stages of their victory over Sheffield United at the start of December, and the Whites had not kept a clean sheet since beating Bolton a fortnight later.

But alongside Pontus Jansson, Cooper was superb as Leeds rarely looked like conceding against Frank Lampard's side. It seemed to be something of a gamble to give him the full 90 minutes given that he had undergone surgery after limping off at Bramall Lane, but the 27-year-old insisted that he had come through the win unscathed.

Leeds United's Liam Cooper during the pre-match warm-up during the Sky Bet Championship match between  City and Leeds United at Liberty Stadium on August 21, 2018 in Swansea, Wales.

"Bit tired towards the end, the last 15 minutes," he told Sky Sports, when asked about his fitness. "But that was always going to happen. I worked very hard with the physios to get back ahead of schedule and just delighted to send the fans off happy. It's always nice to get three points on a Friday night as well."

With Gaetano Berardi still sidelined, it seems imperative that Cooper and Jansson manage to keep themselves out on the pitch as much as possible unless Leeds are going to sign anyone this month.

Marcelo Bielsa, Manager of of Leeds United during the FA Cup Third Round match between Queens Park Rangers and Leeds United at Loftus Road on January 6, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Leeds did not play badly during their run of three defeats, but there appeared to be a huge difference defensively once Cooper was back in the team to help organise the side and allow Jansson to play his natural game.

And if the pair do manage to enjoy a run of games alongside each other, their opponents are going to have to work extremely hard to get the better of Leeds in the coming weeks. 

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