PRIDE and passion – if not points – were restored to Leeds United.
After a humiliating FA Cup exit at Rochdale and a 6-0 mauling at Sheffield Wednesday, the Whites needed a good performance against Championship leaders Leicester City to regain their self-belief.
Leicester snatched a late 1-0 win which was harsh on Leeds whose play-offs hopes seem to be dwindling by the week.
Boss Brian McDermott’s clear the air talks with his squad and staff saw Rodolph Austin relinquish the captaincy after the midfielder felt it was affecting his game.
The skipper’s armband passed to Ross McCormack and the leading scorer should have marked his first game as leader with a hat-trick as Leeds swarmed all over the Foxes.
McCormack headed against a post, saw a chip headed off the line and failed to beat Kasper Schmeichel on a one-on-one.
Tom Lees missed with a great headed chance but those misses came back to haunt the hosts.
Leeds, after such a high-octane start, could not maintain the pressure but apart from a sweetly struck shot by Jamie Vardy which kissed a post, the Foxes offered little threat.
The second half was more even and a draw loomed until veteran Kevin Phillips cleverly stepped over the ball for David Nugent to stab in an 88th-minute winner.
“That was tough to take,” said McDermott, whose side slumped to a fifth successive defeat.