Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has been quoted by Leeds Live as saying that the Whites are the best team his side have faced in the Championship – and would be surprised if they fail to gain promotion.
Leeds produced a stunning display against a somewhat lacklustre Stoke defence, winning 5-0 on Thursday evening to take a giant leap towards automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Mateusz Klich opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Helder Costa doubled the lead. It was 3-0 just before the hour mark as Liam Cooper finished superbly before Pablo Hernandez came off the bench to make it four.
Patrick Bamford continued his fine form with his fourth goal in six games to complete the rout at Elland Road – and Stoke boss O’Neill has paid Leeds enormous compliments following the full-time whistle.
“I would be very surprised if they don’t go up. They are easily the best team we’ve played. Couldn’t deal with them physically. Pace they played with,” O’Neill said.
“Gave decent account in first half, but you can’t give them a leg up, which we did with the penalty. Once behind, it was always tough.”
The win sees Leeds return to the top of the Championship, leapfrogging West Brom who had beaten Derby County by two goals to nil on Wednesday night. With four league games to play, Leeds are six above Brentford.
The Whites are next in action on Sunday afternoon as they travel south to Swansea City in what will prove to be a tough game, having been beaten by Swansea 1-0 earlier in the season. A win could all but seal promotion, though.