JUST THE JOB; LEEDS...............0 MIDDLESBRO....3 Zenden 53, Job 77, Ricketts (Pen) 89 McClaren Hails 'Great' Victory

Sunday Mirror (London, England), February 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

JUST THE JOB; LEEDS...............0 MIDDLESBRO....3 Zenden 53, Job 77, Ricketts (Pen) 89 McClaren Hails 'Great' Victory


Byline: BRIAN McNALLY

DUTCH master Bolo Zenden sparked a Boro blitz that pushed Leeds even closer to relegation.

The classy Zenden broke the deadlock on 53 minutes after a long spell of Boro domination.

And substitutes Joseph-Desire Job and Michael Ricketts from the spot gave Steve McClaren's men their best away win of the season.

Boro have lost only two of their last 18 League games and will now go into Tuesday's Carling Cup semi final with Arsenal in confident mood.

The absence of on-loan Leeds defender Danny Mills raised a few eyebrows after it was claimed he had no problems about playing at Elland Road.

The England defender has so far failed to agree financial terms for his proposed pounds 2million permanent move to Boro, but visiting boss Steve McClaren remains hopeful a deal can still be thrashed out.

McLaren, who hailed the win as "a great performance" said: "It was my decision to leave out Danny Mills. But the negotiations are ongoing."

Early on it was easy to see why McClaren is also trying to sign Leeds striker Mark Viduka in a pounds 3million deal as they laboured to turn good possession into goals.

And time is against them because Viduka isn't due back from compassionate leave in Australia until tomorrow, the last day for transfers.

McClaren added: "Mark Viduka is someone who interests us, but it is difficult because he is in Australia. It seems highly unlikely at the moment."

Leeds caretaker boss Eddie Gray had saluted his players for taking a 25 per cent pay deferral until the end of the season and made a pre-match appeal for unity at the club.

And the Elland Road fans responded by giving the Leeds players a rousing welcome before the game. But in a disjointed first half lacklustre Leeds hardly created a chance.

And visiting keeper Mark Schwarzer was a virtual spectator with Leeds not managing a single shot in an instantly forgettable first half

All the good football came from Boro, but most of their best play fizzled out on the edge of the home box.

Gaizka Mendieta produced the first threat with a 20-yard free kick that whizzed over the bar with home keeper Paul Robinson scrambling across his line.

He also created Boro's best first-half chance with a thunderous long-range drive that Robinson could only push into the air. …

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