Leeds United 2, Blackpool 0
Two-goal Luke Murphy earned high praise from manager Brian McDermott after Leeds’ first win under Massimo Cellino’s ownership left Blackpool just two points above the drop zone.
Murphy, a £1million buy from Crewe last summer, has struggled to live up to his price tag this season but he was outstanding as Leeds – whose players have now received the deferred final slice of their March wages – ended a run of five defeats.
McDermott, whose position has come under pressure, expressed hope after the victory at Elland Road that Leeds would now see the best of the 24-year-old midfielder.
The United boss, whose side had failed to score in the previous three matches, said: “Luke’s two finishes were excellent and he could have scored before our first goal. You need the right mentality to play at this ground.
“Luke scored a lot of goals for Crewe. He was there from about 12 years of age, playing with the same players while coming through the ranks. Then he came to a massive club like Leeds and it can take time for players to adapt.”
McDermott is confident that Leeds will not have to worry about relegation now – and he was delighted to see the dawning of a new era at Elland Road under the guidance of Italian Cellino after a long period of uncertainly over the club’s ownership.
He said: “The win was a great relief. It was a big result for us. We are on 50 points and that should be enough – but you can’t think like that. I can only think about our next match at Barnsley.
“Thank God we have got Massimo Cellino in charge because I didn’t know where this club was going. The fans gave him a really good reception and I am delighted for him.
“We’ve all got paid and this club feels like a different, more secure place now.”
Murphy showed finishing of the highest calibre, switching the ball on to his left foot to slot the ball in from the corner of the six-yard box in the 21st minute for the first goal.
He then cleverly dinked the ball over goalkeeper Matt Gilks with 17 minutes left to seal the outcome.
Leeds goalkeeper Jack Butland denied Blackpool a consolation goal by stretching to tip Gary MacKenzie’s header over the bar with five minutes left.
Blackpool assistant manager Malky Thomson said: “Leeds managed to take their chances and we didn’t. That was probably the only difference.”