Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa felt Tyler Roberts’ double in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Preston was just reward for his pre-season efforts.
The 19-year-old has had to bide his time at Elland Road through a combination of injury and the form of Kemar Roofe.
But with top-scorer Roofe and summer signing Patrick Bamford both sidelined, Roberts has taken his opportunity with both hands.
The Wales international made a promising first Championship start in the draw at Millwall and opened his Leeds account in style against struggling Preston.
After captain Liam Cooper gave Leeds a deserved first-half lead, Roberts netted his first United goal with a brilliant lob and headed home a second late on.
“He started the pre-season work later than others,” said Bielsa of Roberts.
“He has done many efforts. I asked him to play as a right winger and heard he liked to play as a number nine. Circumstances offered him a place in the team in the position where I thought he didn’t have to play.
“In the game against Millwall he had four chances to score and today scored two goals so it’s an interesting performance.
“He’s a very young player and I’m very happy for him. He deserves it.”
The result stretched Leeds’ unbeaten start to the Championship season to eight games and kept Bielsa’s side at the summit.
The Argentinean hailed a complete team performance, saying: “The first half was very good. The second half at the beginning was harder then we dominated.
“Individual performances were important and our offensive game and defensive game were good. There are few things to criticise in this game.”
“Our team was very dynamic and what we tried to do made us make links between the movement of players. Players were moving to create space for others and this worked pretty well.
“We have to underline the good performances of the individuals. Each one was high.”
Preston remain in the bottom three with only one win so far, on the opening day of the season against QPR.
Alex Neil’s men inflicted the first defeat – and only so far – on Bielsa’s Leeds in the Carabao Cup last month but they could not reproduce that performance.
“I’m obviously naturally disappointed to come away losing the game 3-0,” said Neil.
“We started the game really well and were on top. Then we gave the ball away on a couple of occasions and that got their tails up.
“Their movement is good. We high pressed well in the cup, which is a high-risk strategy, and managed to beat them on the back of it.
“But today we didn’t do enough going forward when we had the ball to damage Leeds. When you do that when you play good teams you’re going to get hurt at the other end.
“We do have to get ourselves out of the rut we’re in at the moment.”
On Leeds’ promotion prospects, Neil added: “It’s tough to say. They look really good but nothing’s won at this stage of the season.
“In years gone by they’ve done really well to a point before tailing off. They’ll be trying to make sure that’s not the case.”