Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds moved up to 16th in the Premier League table with a 1-0 win over Watford at Elland Road on Saturday.
Diego Llorente brilliantly finished from close range after the ball dropped at an awkward angle for him, expertly turning his body to drill a shot past Ben Foster.
His strike ended up winning the three points for Leeds, as Watford only managed one shot on target in the entire match.
Whilst Llorente won the game for the Whites, one player who was an unsung hero for Bielsa was right-back Jamie Shackleton.
With regular starter Luke Ayling ruled out, Shackleton was called upon to step up at full-back for the second game running and he produced an excellent performance. He was defensively solid along with offering a reliable outlet on the ball down the right, which played a part in allowing Leeds to dominate the game and ultimately beat the Hornets.
In terms of his defending, Shakleton was superb. Per SofaScore, he won eight of his 11 ground duels and made two clearances and four tackles. Along with that, he did not allow a single Watford player to dribble past him in the 90 minutes.
This shows that he was strong in the challenge and positionally aware, as he was not exposed by any players dribbling past him. By being solid at the back, Emmanuel Dennis was limited to one shot in the game and had a dribble success rate of 0% on the left wing, coming up against Shackleton.
On the ball, the youngster also impressed. Via SofaScore, he had a whopping 96 touches of the ball in the 90 minutes. Shackleton was successful with two of his three attempted dribbles and completed 84% of his passes, whilst also winning two fouls and managing one shot in the final third.
He was active on the ball throughout the match and assured in possession, as he completed the vast majority of his passes. His dribbling success shows that he was also able to offer quality in transition, beating players to push Leeds up the pitch and get the team closer to the Watford goal to build pressure on the Hornets.
Therefore, forget Llorente, Shackleton was Leeds’ unsung hero against Watford. He merged strong defending with composure on the ball and Bielsa will surely be hoping that he can maintain this level of performance until Ayling is fit to return.