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Confidence does wonders in sport, and from the very first minutes of Saturdays game you could see the Leeds players oozing with it. Luke Ayling’s speculative first minute shot, Harrisons take on and cross, Bamford’s confidence to hold his position for the second ball which lead to the ball. Bamford has worked hard all season but without his recent streak of goals and assists he probably doesn’t stick his chance away against Boro, head drops after the initial chance, but on this occasion it didn’t and he headed home the opener from another excellent Harrison cross.
Likewise, Jack Harrison, he’s been in excellent form recently with goals and assists to his name. The take on to get into space was excellent and the two crosses for the initial chance and the goal were both superb. Earlier in the season we see him drift inside and lose the ball, but now riding high on confidence Harrison is the finished article. Admitedly Klich gets a bit lucky with his first goal but having put it away gives him the confidence to take on the shot for the second and what a beauty it was, curling into the top corner.
Helder Costa was the marquee signing of the summer but perhaps hadn’t hit the form he has shown previously for Wolves. He’s been improving in recent weeks but still hadn’t quite found that end product. His assist against Luton was the breakthrough, without it maybe he isn’t so persistent yesterday, or maybe rather than smashing the ball at goal after his great work he passes it to the player to his left and Boro get men back. Confidence low Costa's lovely quick feet and perseverance comes to nothing but he had the confidence to have a pop, and he scored.
Saturdays thrashing of Middlesbrough wasn’t all that different to how we usually play, we usually create chances, concede few chances and dominate the ball. Pretty standard really. But confidence was the key, everything clicked for a change, we were clinical, players who maybe a month or two ago would have done something totally different in similar situations did what they did yesterday because they were confident. Bamford's goal gave the team confidence.
Casilla, contrary to what the media say, oozes confidence and it rubs off on his defenders who have total confidence in him, that turn away from the Boro player was pure filth. Cooper gives White confidence, White gives Ayling confidence, Ayling gives Phillips confidence and so on. Whether we have the best individuals talent wise in the league is up for debate. But when the team are confident in themselves and each other then performances like yesterday happen. Bielsa Ball gives us an edge on other teams, but confidence gives us even more, you can’t legislate for players who are confident because they may do the unexpected.
We have lacked a clinical edge for ages but maybe yesterday was the turning point? We’ve only surpassed our expected goals (xG) on three occasions previously this season, on Saturday we thrashed it. For the first time this season we really took our chances. Confidence is contagious, players feel they can do anything and it will come off. It won't always, of course, but they'll keep trying. And team mates will believe, so they'll make those runs, expecting the man with the ball to beat his man and pick the pass, whip the cross over etc.
With our attacking players finding confidence hopefully the clinicalness of Saturday becomes more of the norm in reality the rest of our plat wasn’t all that different from usual. The was an increase in confidence for certain players and Saturday was the result. Long may it continue.
Content by cjay from the Confidence thread on our discussion forums