THE influence of Leeds United’s set-piece coach Gianni Vio has helped the Whites close the gap on a Skybet Championship play-off place.

The former AC Milan coach arrived at Elland Road in November with the Whites on a horrible run of six defeats in seven league matches.

Now Leeds are beginning to put the Italian’s ideas into practice as they beat Norwich City 1-0 to make it 13 points from a possible 18.

“I believe he is one of the best in his job,” said Leeds head coach Thomas Christiansen.

“This is why we brought him here, but it always takes time to adapt to a new coach and a new system. Hopefully it continues.”

Leeds were a threat from set-pieces throughout against the Canaries.

Home debutant Pawel Cibicki and Gianni Alioski feed some excellent deliveries into the box that had the Norwich defence struggling to clear their lines..

Soon after Kalvin Phillips hit a post, Pontus Jansson scored his second header from a free-kick in as many home games.

He glanced in fellow Swede Cibicki’s perfect delivery off the far post in front of the South Stand after 41 minutes.

Norwich tested United’s mettle several times but they stood firm with Felix Wiedwald, who made a real howler at QPR the previous week, denying the visitors’ star man Alex Pritchard with two fine saves.

Leeds could have made life much easier for themselves in the closing stages had Samuel Saiz found the net after latching on to Grant Hanley’s weak back-pass on 80 minutes.

The Spanish playmaker curled the ball past goalkeeper Angus Gunn but the ball hit the base of the upright and was cleared to safety.

Leeds were not at their most fluent, with too much passing wide of the mark, but put in a solid defensive display, with Jansson back to his uncompromising best.

Cibicki’s first Championship start saw him build on his second-half substitute performance at Loftus Road.

He showed good movement, passed the ball accurately, produced several dangerous crosses and belied his light frame to win plenty of headers against his markers.

Christiansson, who confirmed striker Caleb Ekuban would be out for six weeks with another foot injury, said of the Norwich game: “It is a victory that gives us more confidence and belief that this is where we belong – close to the top six.”

Victory against Hull City at Elland Road on Saturday will lift Leeds back into the play-off places as the sides immediately above them, Sheffield United and Aston Villa, play each other.