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Copy from Football Unlimited of 07/04/2003.
Peter Reid is taking Leeds backwards. That might seem an extraordinary assertion after the manager guided his new team to a superb win in which they scored as many goals as in their final seven Premiership games under Terry Venables but the evidence here was striking.
Leeds going backwards under Reid does not mean deteriorating but turning back to the values which made them formidable a couple of years ago. This display was bristling with aggression, team ethic, relentless closing down and a fierce will to win. From that base the talent of Alan Smith, Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell glittered.
Reid had signalled a break from the Venables era by removing Paul Okon, Raul Bravo and Teddy Lucic from the squad, yet the reversion to former times ran deeper. The high-energy approach reflects Reid's own ideals but perhaps he also remembers what helped David O'Leary's Leeds beat his Sunderland in five of their six Premiership meetings. Welcome to the new, old Leeds United.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 05/04/2003.
When Peter Reid took over from Terry Venables as caretaker-manager of Leeds United, the job description was simple: cobble together half-a-dozen points and keep them in the Premiership. But he, along with the rest of the football world, couldn't possibly have predicted that three of those points would come from a scintillating performance that bore no relation to the apathetic displays of recent months.
Mark Viduka got a hat-trick, Harry Kewell a pair and Ian Harte a disputed penalty. The dispute, incidentally, was between he and Viduka as to who should take the free-kick. Later in the game, when Leeds were awarded a second spot-kick, there was no argument: Viduka was on his hat-trick and Harte gracefully withdrew.
But the star of this extraordinary show was Alan Smith, with a sustained performance that should give the England manager a hefty nudge. In between roaring encouragement at his colleagues, Smith had a hand in five of the goals and his play typified all that was best about United - committed, competitive and brimming with confidence.