Jack Harrison leading the way as Leeds United aim to finish strongly
While Rodrigo took much of the acclaim after a brilliant two-goal contribution off the bench to show he is finally looking like a record signing Leeds United had a more cut price hero in their ranks with winger Jack Harrison's outstanding display in their 4-0 win at Burnley.
With all the pressure off the Whites followed up their superb attacking display against Tottenham with another free flowing performance at Turf Moor and Harrison was at the heart of it.
If reports are correct Harrison will cost Leeds £11m this summer to complete the transfer of a player they had the services of on loan for three years. And on his display against Burnley that will take some beating as the transfer of the summer.
It is clearly a no brainer that Leeds take up their option for the Stoke born 24-year-old who now only has Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes ahead of him this season with more goal involvements from midfield.
After a recent blip in form the winger bounced back with a classy performance against Spurs and he was played a key part in the even more convincing victory at Turf Moor, providing crosses that led to a number of chances and playing two high class through balls for the two Rodrigo goals in the second half that sealed the Whites' ninth away win in the Premier this season.
Harrison was also one of the United scorers with a smart flick as he connected with an Ezgjan Alioski shot that would have gone wide.
After the game he played down his own role in the dismantling of physical Burnley, praising his teammates.
He said: “My goal was a bit lucky, but as a team we can be very happy with that performance.
“I meant to direct it towards goal but I wasn’t sure if I was offside or not, luckily I was onside.
“The first five minutes of the game they were all over us, kept us in our box and it was very difficult for us to play out. I think we defended well and managed to get through it as a team, then after that settle down and play our game. "
On the two goals he set up for Rodrigo, he explained: “Rodrigo makes some brilliant runs and you can see the quality that he has to finish it off - two class finishes from him.”
The win boosted Leeds' chances of a top half finish and Harrison is pleased with the way things have gone in the club's first year back in the top flight.
He added: “We’re always ambitious as a team. It has been a good season so far for us as a club in the first season back in the Premier League.
“We’re hoping to finish strong.”
All four of United's goals were high quality with great team moves for two of them, Harrison's clever finish and the opener that came from a lovely curling effort by Mateusz Klich after he had carried the ball a long way to the edge of the Burnley area.
Head coach Marcelo Bielsa was certainly impressed with the manner of the goals as he said afterwards: “The goals are all beautiful! Don’t think we scored them because we trained them."
On the game he added: “In the first half we insisted until we managed to score. We defended well. In the second half we didn’t defend as well, but we were efficient and we had chances at goal.
“When there are big spaces, it is easier to attack. When the opponent is losing they take more risks.
“As you can also see, we conceded chances in the second half that we didn’t in the first."
Bielsa made two changes from the side which beat Tottenham, bringing the fully fit again Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha back in for Robin Koch and Tyler Roberts.
Leeds had to withstand some early pressure as Burnley chased them down with a high press. but they stood strong in defence then once they finally got the ball down they began to dominate.
The first of their chances saw Patrick Bamford denied by former Whites keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, before Alioski's volley was blocked by defender James Tarkowski.
Stuart Dallas saw a strike from the edge of the box deflected wide then when Phillips produced a great cross after a short corner the Whites were inches away from the opening goal after Pascal Struijk's header flashed just wide.
The next attack brought more danger for the home back line with Phillips finding Harrison with a fine pass and the winger's cross being met by Raphinha, who could not keep his acrobatic effort down.
The deadlock was finally broken just before half-time when Leeds broke from their own half and Klich ran with the ball for some 40 yards against backpedalling defenders before producing the perfect curling shot into the corner of the net.
United keeper was called into action in added time with a comfortable save from Ashley Westwood's free-kick.
The start of the second half emulated the start of the game with Burnley on the offensive. Westwood flashed a shot wide from 25 yards before the hosts' first real chance of the game came as Struijk lost out to Matej Vydra in a challenge the United defender thought was a foul and the home striker made his way into the area only to see his shot well saved by Meslier.
Another of Burnley's former Leeds players Chris Wood sent a shot wide from the edge of the area, but the Whites got back in control when they doubled their lead on the hour.
Only a fine interception by James Tarkowski prevented sub Rodrigo from making an immediate impact as he looked to get on the end of a dangerous Harrison cross following a sweeping move. But the relief was only temporary for Burnley as from the resulting corner Alioski's shot was flicked in by Harrison.
The home team could have had hit back soon after as Johann Gudmundsson got free inside the United area, but he could not beat commanding keeper Meslier.
It was Leeds who did score when Harrison picked out Rodrigo and the Spanish forward took the ball on with a terrific first touch then beat Peacock-Farrell with an even better second touch, a clever little chip over the keeper.
Two minutes later Rodrigo was on target again as he rounded Peacock-Farrell after collecting another fantastic pass by Harrison, who had also received an equally impressive pass from Phillips.
Late on United could have added a fifth when substitute Roberts ignored the unmarked Rodrigo to his right and went for a goal only to see his shot directed straight at his former teammate Peacock-Farrell.
(Klich 44, Harrison 60, Rodrigo 77, 79)
Burnley: Peacock-Farrell; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Cork, Brownhill, Westwood, McNeil (Gudmundsson 70); Wood (Barnes 65), Vydra (Rodriguez 65).
Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Struijk; Dallas, Phillips, Alioski; Raphinha (Poveda 81), Klich (Roberts 76), Harrison; Bamford (Rodrigo 58).
Referee: Graham Scott