Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was delighted his side delivered a Yorkshire derby win on the day the club remembered their record goalscorer Peter Lorimer.
Bielsa’s side climbed back into the Premier League’s top 10 after Jack Harrison’s opener and Phil Jagielka’s own goal secured them a 2-1 win against Sheffield United, who had equalised through Ben Osborn.
Lorimer, who scored a record 238 goals for Leeds in 705 appearances, died last month aged 74 following a long-term illness and the club paid tribute via a minute’s applause before kick-off.
Leeds fans Chris Loftus and Kevin Speight, who were killed in Turkey before a UEFA Cup tie against Galatasaray in April 2000, were also remembered.
“Victories always generate happiness and optimism,” Bielsa said. “When we lose someone it always generates sadness and memories.
“It’s very difficult for happiness or victory to compensate for the loss of someone, (but) it’s better to have one to say goodbye to such an extraordinary player.”
Leeds passed the 40-point mark by registering their 13th win in their first season back in the top flight.
But despite dominating for long periods, Leeds missed plenty of chances and were pushed all the way by their rock-bottom rivals.
“We won only by one goal,” Bielsa said. “When the opponent sees there’s only a one-goal difference they insist on arriving at the opponent’s goal.
“We had a sufficient amount of chances to have scored more goals. Many dangerous situations that didn’t end in shots that would have increased the options we would have had to score more goals.
“It’s very difficult in the Premier League to imagine a comfortable victory, at least for us.”
Blades caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom made his first return to Elland Road since being sacked as Leeds manager after just four months in the role in 2018.
Heckingbottom, who was replaced by Bielsa, has now lost all three games in charge of the Blades after stepping in for Chris Wilder, while defeat to Leeds was their 24th in the Premier League this season.
“It’s been a tough year for everyone but we can either sit back and moan about that or start looking forward. And we want to look forward and start preparing for next season, whatever that brings,” Heckingbottom said.
“That is the focus. There were moments today that were very good but we didn’t capitalise on enough opportunities.
“When we did lose the ball and where we lost it was frustrating for us because it meant we missed opportunities to build pressure, but it also gave Leeds their best opportunities, which were on the counter.
“Those little moments where we were cheap in possession was the difference today.”
Heckingbottom confirmed both George Baldock and Jayden Bogle were being monitored after both were forced off due to head injuries.
“They are with the doctors getting assessed,” Heckingbottom added.
“George was a concussion substitution. He went through the test and appeared fine but reported some blurred vision so we brought him off.
“And Jayden took a bang and did not feel great so no risk, just brought him off.”