Patrick Bamford's controversial goal was 'not a decisive moment, we were too dominant', says Leeds United boss Daniel Farke after Rotherham game
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Manager Daniel Farke was not happy with the way the Whites started and finished the game, but the big bit in the middle saw his team at their attacking best as they kept the pressure on at the top of the Championship.
With Ipswich dropping two points in the lunch time game, third-placed Leeds took their chance to open up a three-point gap on them, but they remain a point behind Southampton in second.
"Another three points, another clean sheet," said Whites boss Farke.
"Since Christmas their biggest loss was by two goals at Southampton so we knew it could have been a tight game, but in the end we won comfortably and should have won by more goals.
"I didn't like the first 10 minutes when we conceded a penalty after 10 seconds and were not on it and the last 10 minutes when we conceded too many set pieces, but in the middle 70 minutes we were excellent.
"We should have scored more, but otherwise it was a good performance.
"It should have been a tennis result, but Rotherham are a side who fight to the end. They don't give up, we are happy with 3-0."
On the controversial Bamford opening goal, Farke added: "If I'm honest I haven't watched it back, someone mentioned it's a possible handball or the ball was deflected by Patrick's arm. For me it's not possible to judge it.
"You have to say if it was a handball then probably it should have been not allowed but if I'm really honest normally you say over the course of a season everything is a bit equal.
"I also think normally it's important during a game if it's a goal or not a goal but today it was not important because we created so many chances.
"I think even if this situation would have been disallowed, I think it would still be the same outcome and to win. I think in the end it was not a decisive moment, we were too dominant.”
Leeds were comfortable for much of the match aside from conceding a corner straight from the kick-off that came to nothing.
It was 80 minutes before the Millers managed their first effort on goal and the only surprise was that they did not lose by a bigger margin.
Bamford had the first chance on four minutes from Georginio Rutter's pull back, but there was not enough power in the shot and it was easily saved by Viktor Johansson.
Leeds were ahead in the tenth minute, however, with a goal that may have been lucky to have been given. Junior Firpo was played in down the left and his cross deflected up off a defender and was put into the net somehow by Bamford, who certainly aimed his arm at the ball.
Rotherham protests fell on deaf ears and the goal gave the Whites the confidence to go on to dominate.
Rutter opened space well on the edge of the box only to shoot over before Crysencio Summerville - who was otherwise outstanding - missed a glorious chance to double the lead, shooting over in space in the box after being set up by Firpo.
Rutter then got in behind the visitors' defence only to be unable to round the keeper.
If Leeds had been lucky with their goal they were unlucky as they were denied a penalty when Willy Gnonto got away from Sebastian Revan only to be brought down by the defender who took him out well before he got a touch on the ball.
More chances followed before the break, a fine move ending in an Archie Gray shot being saved and a well struck Gnonto shot bringing a good save out of Johansson.
The good work continued at the start of the season half as Bamford hit the crossbar after being found in the area. His shot from the rebound was well blocked by a defender and a third effort in a matter of moments saw Gnonto fire over.
Leeds did make it 2-0 on 52 minutes when Summerville exchanged passes with Rutter just inside the Rotherham half then raced away into the box to tuck his shot under Johansson for a superb goal.
Another big penalty shout fell on deaf ears when Gnonto went down, but two minutes later a spot kick was awarded as Summerville was brought down in the box. The defender may have got a touch on the ball, but also pulled back the home player and from the resulting penalty Summerville came up with a 'Panenka', confidently chipping the ball into the net after sending the keeper diving the wrong way.
This was the cue for substitutions to rest players with the next game on Tuesday in mind and the Whites eased up now, although they still had three more big chances as Gnonto fired inches wide and Rutter followed suit after also seeing a header saved.
Rotherham finally had a few efforts of their own late on with Illan Meslier forced into two saves to keep out a Hakeem Odoffin header and a Sam Clucas shot. But in the main part of the game they had been well outplayed as the gap in the table between the sides was clearly demonstrated.
(Bamford 10, Summerville 52, 58, pen)
Rotherham United 0
Saturday, February 10, 2024
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo (Byram 64); Gruev (Roberts 75), Kamara (Cresswell 84); Gnonto, Rutter, Summerville (Piroe 64); Bamford (Joseph 75).
Rotherham: Johansson; Odoffin, Morrison (Humphreys 78), Peltier, Revan; Tiehi (Rathbone 87), Clucas; Kioso, Lindsay (Nombe 64), Cafu (Rinomhota 64); Hugill (Eaves 64).
Referee: Andy Madley