Leeds United fought through a nervy second-half to record their first win of 2021 over Newcastle United.

The Whites travelled to St James’ Park looking to pile the pressure on Steve Bruce and stretch his winless run to 11 games.

However, we came into it too looking to end our own sour patch of late, with no wins or goals in the last three.

Raphinha opened the scoring in the first after a blistering counter-attack and turned provider in the second half to tee up a brilliant Jack Harrison strike, settling matters just after Miguel Almiron’s equaliser.

Here, we deliver the player ratings from Tyneside…

Illan Meslier – 8

Probably took as many boots to the head as he made saves but was equal to everything the Magpies threw at him.

He couldn’t do anything about the goal from point-blank range but almost kept it out.

Luke Ayling – 7

Caught out for said goal but not by any fault of his own.

Back to right-back and exactly the type of link-up play that has seen him become a vital member of our side.

Diego Llorente – n/a

Nothing to say for his performance that lasted eight minutes.

It’s such a frustrating situation for him and the club to see him constantly injured.

Liam Cooper – 7

Callum Wilson once again didn’t get a sniff and it’s down to the skipper.

Jamaal Lascelles gave him the runaround on a few set pieces but he did enough to stop him getting any efforts in at goal.

Gjanni Alioski – 6

Middle of the road from the left-back.

Wasn’t exactly great but not poor either, hooked after picking up a clumsy yellow card and rightly so.

Kalvin Phillips – 6

Quiet again from the Yorkshire Pirlo but did enough to halt any progress from Newcastle’s central midfield.

Needs to get a grip of games though coming up.

Raphinha – 8

The type of magic that edges these frantic games.

He’s our most talented player, and the calmness he showed to roll the ball in for the first was sublime.

Then the vision to pick out Harrison for his goal was top-notch.

Rodrigo – 7

Teed up Raphinha’s goal with patient play and was always finding gaps in between the lines.

Many might be wondering whether he was worth the £28million fee but he’s showing a level of composure, intelligence and pace in tight spaces that we just didn’t have in abundance before him.

Stuart Dallas – 7

Energetic as usual from the ‘Leeds-born’ utility man.

Was a gritty performance from him with little chance to get anything stylish going but still did his job well in central midfield and then left-back.

Jack Harrison – 8

Another superb goal against Newcastle.

Two touches that brilliantly sum up how his game has progressed under Bielsa, with his decision-making also very sharp today.

Patrick Bamford – 4

A lazy pass gifted Newcastle the chance to equalise and summed up his light.

Sloppy in control and very uncharacteristic for our top goalscorer.


Pascal Struijk – 7

Confident in defence and growing into his developing first-team role.

Won everything in the air but needs to be more patient in possession.

Mateusz Klich – 6

Not much for the Pole to do apart from work hard in midfield and pick up scraps.

He did it competently, though.

Tyler Roberts – 7

Many have been (rightly) asking what he’s going to bring to the table, but he showed it off the bench.

No goal for his efforts but was a constant menace and dropped deep to help get Leeds out of trouble with his pace and direct running.