Victory over Manchester United could transform Leeds’ season – Dominic Matteo

Leeds’ second campaign back in the Premier League has fallen flat.
Victory over Manchester United could transform Leeds’ season – Dominic Matteo

By Mark Walker, PA Sport

Former Leeds defender Dominic Matteo believes victory over Manchester United in Sunday’s War of the Roses could transform their season.

Leeds’ second campaign back in the Premier League has fallen flat and Matteo knows what it would mean to their fans if they beat their arch-rivals.

Matteo, who played in Leeds’ last league win against United nearly 20 years ago, told the PA news agency: “It’s funny, my memory’s been a bit sketchy over the years, but I don’t forget that one.

“You didn’t get many results against Man U in that era under Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson). They were just so strong, so physical and so hard to play against because they had so many great players.

“To get a result in a game like that meant everything. For these players now, if they win on Sunday, the confidence they’ll get off the back of that will be amazing.

“The fans are desperate for a lift, we all know that. Everyone knows and understands the injuries they’ve had – but you can’t keep making excuses.

“This game is massive. It’s another chance for Leeds to get a result against their biggest rivals. I think it’s possible and it could kick-start their season.”

Harry Kewell’s header secured Leeds a 1-0 win at Elland Road in September 2002 and the Yorkshire club have won just one of their nine meetings since – a stunning FA Cup victory by the same score at Old Trafford in 2010.

“I know lads who’ve been taking their kids to Elland Road since they were three and four years old and they’ve never seen Leeds beat them,” Matteo said.

“This game is a big one for so many people, younger ones and the older generation. Both clubs. It’s the one that’s most talked about because there’s no love lost between them, let’s be honest.”


Leeds’ 3-0 defeat at Everton last week has left them six points above the relegation zone and with United next up – followed by Liverpool (away), then Tottenham (home) and Leicester (away) – Matteo feels Sunday’s result could be significant.

He added: “There is pressure. Teams around Leeds are picking up results. Do I think they’ll be OK? Yes, I do personally.

“But if you look at the games they’ve got coming up. The next three are massive, really tough fixtures for Leeds.

“Leeds are capable of a performance that is good enough to beat United. Consistency this season hasn’t been there, but this game is a one-off.

“It’s a winnable game for both teams. If Leeds start well and play like they did at Aston Villa, they’ve got a chance.

“If they play like they did at Everton and in the last game at Old Trafford, they’ll get done. It’s a hard one to call and thankfully my betting days are over.”

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