DEFENDER Diego Llorente showed Leeds United’s misfiring frontline how to score with the goal that secured the Whites their first Premier League win of the season.

The Spanish international produced an instinctive striker’s swivelling finish to net the winner at Elland Road on Saturday to see off woeful Watford.

Dominant Leeds produced a bucketful of chances and should have won by a much bigger margin than Llorente’s lone strike after the Hornets failed to clear an 18th-minute corner.

He told the media: “I found the ball near me and I didn’t think, just struck it, and thankfully it found the goal.”

It was the perfect return for Llorente after missing four games with a muscular injury as Leeds recorded their first Premier League clean sheet of the season.

Although he is prone to take risks, some of Llorente’s passing from the back is top-drawer and quickly gets Leeds on the front foot.

“He didn’t make defensive errors. He distributed the ball with precision and with intelligence. And he scored a goal which is a good way to round off a solid performance,” said Marcelo Bielsa.

The Leeds coach also had praise for 22-year-old Jamie Shackleton, standing in for the Luke Ayling at right-back – a role he may continue to fill for a few weeks as Ayling undergoes knee surgery.

United’s defence was rarely tested by a passive Watford, who simply could not live with the home side’s high-velocity football.

Time and time again Leeds carved Watford open but wayward shooting and wrong decision-making at crucial times meant they were never able to reflect their superiority on the scoreline. They just had one goal to show from 68 per cent of possession - much of it in the Watford half - firing in 20 attempts at goal.

Dan James, who was denied strong claims for a penalty when he was grappled by William Troost-Ekong, was quick and assertive, while Raphinha was unplayable at times on the opposite flank. With Rodrigo leading the central defenders on a merry fandango with his movement, the Hornets simply could not cope.

Bielsa said: “There was a lot of positive things. We didn’t make errors. We didn’t allow counter-attacks. We didn’t let their forwards stand out. In the first hour of play, we created a lot of danger. In the last 30 minutes, perhaps a little less. It was a fair, deserved win. The difference (in the scoreline) could have been bigger.”

Failure to take their chances almost cost Leeds dear on 73 minutes when goalkeeper Illan Meslier dropped a corner onto his skipper Liam Cooper and the ball rolled into the net but the officials ruled that Christian Kabasele had illegally grabbed onto the Leeds captain to force the error.

It was an escape for the Whites, who nearly added that elusive second goal towards the end when Ben Foster dropped the ball and substitute Tyler Roberts saw his shot hacked off the line by Juraj Kucka before volleying the rebound against the bar.

Leeds had never failed to win any of their opening seven games and their fans were relieved to avoid a piece of unwanted history, having picked up just three points before Saturday. In the eyes of their supporters, the points were more important than a good performance. In fact, Leeds delivered both.

Less than 24 hours after their defeat, Watford sacked manager Xisco Munoz after 10 months in charge. He is the first Premier League manager to be axed this season, and the 13th change of manager since the Pozzo family took over ownership of the Vicarage Road outfit in June 2012.

Leeds resume after the international break on Saturday, October 16 with a trip to Southampton, whose England midfielder James Ward-Prowse is scheduled to miss the game after his straight red card in the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday.

Leeds: Meslier, Shackleton, Llorente, Cooper, Firpo, Phillips, Dallas (Roberts 78), Klich (Struijk 90), Raphinha, James, Rodrigo. Subs (not used): Klaesson, Harrison, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Cresswell, McKinstry, Greenwood.

Watford: Foster, Femenía, Ekong, Sierralta (Kabasele 68), Rose, Sissoko, Kucka, Tufan (Pedro 59), Sarr, Dennis, King (Sema 45). Subs not used: Bachmann, Ngakia, Cleverley, Masina, Gosling, Hernández. Cautions: Femenía, Sarr, Dennis

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 36,261