Aston Villa may have beaten them 2-1 but Leeds boss Jesse Marsch said it was his side’s “best performance” in his 11 months in charge.

Leon Bailey finished off a swift counter-attack to give Villa an early lead and Emiliano Buendia headed in their second before Patrick Bamford’s late strike for Leeds.

Marsch said: “It was the most complete performance we have had since I’ve been here. It is a really positive sign for me. It hurts to lose but a really positive performance.

“I’ve tried hard to create a process and understanding of how we want to play football. I am really satisfied to now see it start to come together.”

Marsch, who took over last February, sees his side remain two points above the drop zone.

“We have to stay focused on our process and not get stressed out by the table. I want us to stay laser focused on us,” he said.

Bailey had a hand in both goals with the Jamaican winger finishing off a counter-attack after a great run by Boubacar Kamara in just the third minute to put the hosts ahead.

That was Villa’s only shot in the first half, with Leeds having two penalty appeals rejected, a Rodrigo goal disallowed for offside and missing big chances.

Villa debutant Alex Moreno denied Rodrigo with a goalline clearance and keeper Emiliano Martinez pulled off a wonderful reaction stop to deny Jack Harrison from close range.

Unai Emery’s hosts were better in the second half and they got the goal to make them more comfortable – thanks to the video assistant referee.

Bailey’s shot was saved by Illan Meslier with Buendia heading the rebound over the grounded goalkeeper.

The goal was ruled out for offside but the VAR told referee Michael Oliver that Buendia was clearly onside – and it was given.

Leeds were given hope in the final 10 minutes though when Wilfried Gnonto cut the ball back for Bamford, making his return after two and a half months out with a groin injury, to slam home.

But they could not find an equaliser and remain only two points above the relegation zone, with Villa eight points further up the table in 11th.

It was not a perfect night for Villa, who lost left-back Lucas Digne and striker Ollie Watkins to injury in the first half.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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