Stats show Leeds United defender deserved to be on winning side vs. Fulham

With Luke Ayling absent following the birth of his baby daughter, Gaetano Berardi filled in at right-back for Leeds United as they travelled to face fellow promotion hopefuls Fulham at Craven Cottage on Tuesday night.

The Italian defender had found first team minutes hard to come under Garry Monk earlier in this season, but since the festive period he has become something of a regular fixture in the side – mainly because of his versatility.

After playing at left-back in the 3-1 win against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s on Saturday, Berardi switched to the opposite flank in west London in midweek, and he did it with ease.

In fact, Leeds looked to be further strengthening their grip on a play-off spot when Tim Ream’s early own goal gave them the lead, but a dramatic 95th-minute leveller from the hosts’ Tom Cairney meant they only returned to Yorkshire with a point.

It was cruel on the Whites’ defence and especially Berardi, who had performed so well in order to help the side keep a clean sheet.

As the stats show, the 28-year-old made an impressive 12 clearances and four interceptions, while he also showed his strength in the air and on the ground by winning two aerial duels and two tackles respectively.

It is those sort of committed defensive showings that will be needed as we reach the climax of the Championship campaign, and Berardi could just be a key player for Leeds in the coming months as they bid to make their long-awaited return to the Premier League.