Ezgjan Alioski's game changer for Leeds United acknowledged by Marcelo Bielsa
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa was in no doubt of the importance of Ezgjan Alioski's goal just after half-time, which helped Leeds United make it six wins on the trot in the Championship.
After a tough, even first half in a typical derby at Huddersfield Town the Whites were in need of some inspiration and it came from Alioski on his return to the starting line-up.
After a corner was only cleared to just outside the box Alioski raced in to crash a volley past home keeper Kamil Grabara to break the deadlock.
With Pablo Hernandez doubling the lead on 78 minutes Leeds came away from the West Yorkshire derby with a 2-0 win to open up a handy eight-point gap on Fulham in third place in the table.
United boss Bielsa felt his side deserved the win in the end, although he acknowledged that the Terriers had several opportunities and the Alioski goal was huge in the way it changed the way the contest was going.
He said: "In the first half we should have created more chances, we had some opportunities to have a chance but we couldn't end it very well.
"We arrived in good condition in front of the opponents' box but we failed in the last part. That worsens the offensive play. When you have chances is one thing, it is another when you don't create them, when you have good condition to create those chances.
"The second half was different because the Alioski goal changed the the behaviour of the opponent.
"Our first goal made it easier for us to develop the play in the second half.
"We could have scored more goals but could have conceded as well."
Bielsa raised some concerns about the way his team defended the set pieces Huddersfield had, although they were not helped by the absence of injured defender and skipper Liam Cooper.
He added: "In all the match, but especially in the second half we defended set-pieces poorly.
"It wasn't about the absence of the missing players today. Berardi had to replace Cooper and had a good match. Alioski replaced Phillips and did well as well. White was in the role of Phillips, Alioski was in the role of Dallas and the rest of the team are the same players. I think we could resolve the absence."
Cooper looks unlikely to be back for Tuesday's home game against Hull City, but may be available again for next weekend. Phillips will return immediately after sitting out his one match ban.
Phillips was initially a big miss at the John Smith's Stadium as Leeds struggled to get their football together and appeared hurried as their hosts tried to play a pressing game.
United did go closest to scoring in the opening half, however, as Mateusz Klich met a clever, low Hernandez corner only to see his shot hit the post.
Patrick Bamford shot over after making space well in the area and in injury-time Helder Costa also fired over from inside the area, but for the rest of the half the Whites struggled to create opportunities.
Town were fired up to close their visitors down at every chance an dangerous from set pieces, but they also failed to get many efforts in aside from a long range header by Steve Mounie that was tipped over by Kiko Casilla and another Mounie header from a corner that was more comfortably saved.
Another free-kick saw Casilla come a long way out of goal only punch the ball straight to Karlan Grant , who shot from the edge of the box only for Luke Ayling to head the ball away with his keeper stranded.
The second period saw Leeds take charge finally after they went in front with Alioski's volley five minutes into the half.
Suddenly there was more space and Bamford sent a header wide when well placed then Hernandez curled a shot inches wide.
United had a goal wrongly chalked off when Stuart Dallas was incorrectly flagged offside and after his shot was parried by Grabara the ball was put into the net by Bamford.
Bamford was denied again soon after, this time by a fine save from Grabara after he met Jack Harrison's cross.
Huddersfield remained dangerous and Casilla was forced into a terrific point blank range save to keep out Elias Kachunga's header.
But Leeds continued to force the pace with Dallas seeing a shot well held by Grabara and Costa blazing over again from inside the area as he had one in the opening half.
They finally put the game to bed with a smart break from their own half that ended with Harrison's perfect cross picking out Hernandez to score.
Town did have a couple of late chances, but knew it was not their day when Grant headed wide with Casilla completely lost from a free-kick and substitute Matty Daly shot wide after being found free in the box.
Huddersfield Town 0
Leeds United 2
(Alioski 50, Harnendez 78)
Huddersfield: Grabara, Duhaney, Schindler, Stankovic, Hadergionaj, Bacuna, Hogg, Kachunga, Grant, Koroma (Harratt 72), Mounie (Daly 83).
Leeds: Casilla, Dallas, Ayling, Berardi, White, Alioski, Klich (Casey 84), Hernandez, Costa (Douglas 87), Harrison, Bamford (Nketiah 77).
Referee: Gavin Ward