ALARM bells are ringing at Elland Road.

Automatic promotion from the Championship is no longer in Leeds United’s hands after losing 1-0 at home to in-form Sheffield United on Saturday.

Chris Wilder’s men leapfrogged the Whites into second place by a point, and leaders Norwich’s 2-1 victory at Rotherham left Leeds trailing the Canaries by five points with eight games remaining.

It left Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa frustrated in a post-match press conference played out to the backdrop of a fire alarm.

"I don’t want to underestimate the victory of the opponent,” he said after seeing his side fail to translate dominance into goals.

"If we analyse the game we can't be unsatisfied but we're disappointed with the result. What happened today has happened many times in the past games.”

Biela’s side have only themselves to blame after failing to take their chances against their Yorkshire rivals. Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison, Mateusz Klich and Pontus Jansson all surrendered good opportunities to get Leeds on the scoreboard.

Despite having 70 per cent possession and 17 shots, none of their attempts were on target.

The only effort which either side got between the sticks was makeshift Blades midfielder Chris Basham’s 71st minute winner.

It came when Leeds skipper Liam Cooper’s error enabled Billy Sharp to play in Basham to calmly settle the derby battle.

To add to the Whites’ misery, goalkeeper Kiko Casilla was sent off for bringing down Sharp in injury time. He’s set to miss the next game against Millwall at Elland Road on March 30 but the club have hinted they may appeal the decision.

With Bielsa having already made his three substitutions, Jansson – who was already limping with a knee injury – donned the gloves for the final moments.

During the international break Leeds would be advised to sharpen their finishing skills.

After clinically putting away three goals in the first half at Reading the previous Tuesday, they should have doubled their score in the second period at the Madjeski Stadium.

That sloppiness seemed to spill over to Saturday’s game where some excellent approach work – particularly in the opening half-hour – was wasted by a lack of precision in the box.

Tyler Roberts hit the post in the second half with the scores still level after another slick move but the Blades, who played with five at the back and two holding midfielders, won three precious points in their quest for Premier League football.

It is rapidly approaching that period in the season when points not performance are critical – something that Wilder reflected on after the game.

“Great victory, not a great performance," he said. "I've said all along I am not going to be embarrassed about winning against the run of play a little bit because I think in 18 months at this football club, we've smashed some sides and not got what we've deserved.

"It was a tough afternoon, a tough test for us and I'm delighted that against the run of play that we've come away with a result. They're a good side, a really good side."

The result may not be season-defining for Leeds but it will have give the Blades, who kept a seventh successive clean sheet, an edge in the battle at the top.

Leeds United: Casilla, Ayling (Dallas 76), Jansson, Cooper, Alioski, Phillips, Klich (Clarke 76), Hernandez, Harrison (Douglas 57), Roberts, Bamford. Subs (not used): Peacock-Farrell, Beradi, Shackleton, Gotts. Sent off: Casilla

Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, O’Connell, Egan, Stevens, Basham (Lungren 90+1), Fleck, Norwood, Crainie, McGoldrick (Dowell 87), Sharp. Subs (not used): Moore, Hogan, Coutts, Stearman, Duffy. Cautions: Baldock, Sharp

Ref: David Coote Att: 37,004