Well, that was unexpected.

Spurred on by an opening day attendance not seen in a decade, Leeds United hit the field like a pack of ravenous dogs, snapping quickly at the feet of any Stoke City player who dared to take possession of the ball, with no care given to their status as promotion favourites.

This was a Leeds United performance you could really fall in love with.

Bielsa’s transformation of Leeds was immediately visible. A formation seems almost archaic after witnessing the ten outfield Leeds players seamlessly rotate and switch positions, quickly overloading areas when we were in possession and quicker still to outnumber Stoke when they took control of the ball.

It’s a system – or total disregard for the rigidness of a system – that really played into the strengths of Kemar Roofe, a player who’s never totally convinced me as a lone striker, despite always looking capable in advanced positions. Under Bielsa, Roofe roamed freely, setting the tone for a high-pressing game early on with a strong sliding tackle near the opposition corner flag. It was reminiscent of a young Alan Smith, fighting for a ball he had no rights to win, in a position where most forwards would see no value in challenging. As much as the Elland Road crowd enjoyed it, it amounted to nothing, but Leeds weren’t about to give Stoke a moment to catch their breath.

Stoke were rattled. Leeds had come charging out of the gates and Stoke’s defence had no answer to it. Surprised by the intensity of the Leeds press, highly-capable, seasoned pros were making uncharacteristic mistakes. Leeds meanwhile were moving around the pitch like a synchronised swimming team, the ball passed around at pace while hungry men in white constantly looked to get on the attack.

The opening goal came from a player who’d not started a game for Leeds in 11 months. Mateusz Klich quickly fell out of favour after his arrival last summer, but his display against Stoke made it hard to remember why. Samuel Saiz, back to his unplayable best, jinked by two players before slotting through a wonderful, defence-splitting through ball that Klich almost lost control of, before recovering to prod it past the keeper. 1-0 and Leeds were good value for it.

If the Leeds players had any doubts about the quality Stoke possess, Tom Ince made sure they kept their focus when his audacious 30 yard effort clipped the top of the bar. No one in white needed a wake-up call, but it was a reminder that Stoke have the players to hurt anyone in this division.

Unfortunately for Stoke, Leeds scented blood and the relentless press continued. A popular figure at Elland Road following his loan spell in 2014, it was unfortunate Jack Butland had to be the man at fault for Leeds’ second, but Pablo Hernandez’s goal to double Leeds’ advantage on the stroke of half-time was no less than The Whites deserved. In truth, Leeds could have been further ahead. Stoke had been played off the park.

The second half opened to a somewhat dubious penalty decision that was converted well by Afobe. Fears that this may lead to an all too familiar Leeds collapse were thankfully short-lived as The Whites kept faith in Bielsaball and continued to press and push on high up the pitch.

Liam Cooper, an often polarising figure amongst the Leeds faithful, would have the final say. Bargain of the decade Barry Douglas whipped in a great corner, met with a perfect glancing header by Cooper to restore Leeds’ two-goal cushion and ultimately, put the match to bed with less than an hour played.

Stoke did rally a little and when Peter Crouch came on, the many years of seeing Leeds concede silly goals put the fear of god into this home fan. But Leeds themselves continued to carve out chances and always had too much for a shell-shocked visiting side who were sent home with their tails between their legs following a ‘welcome to the Championship’ party that no doubt changed a few players’ perspective.

For Leeds, this was hopefully the start of Bielsa’s revolution, but it was also the day we paid tribute to one of our greatest ever. Beeston-born Paul Madeley sadly passed away last month and a number of tributes, including a card mural organised by fans in South Stand, took place. A one-club player, instrumental in the success of the great Don Revie side, Madeley played over 700 games for Leeds. The ultimate utility man, Paul featured in every outfield position for the club and was more than competent in them all. He’d have been an absolute dream for Marcelo Bielsa who expects players to be adaptable and fill in multiple positions.

Man of the match

Take your pick. I’d probably go with Mateusz Klich who was instrumental in maintaining the high press and keeping the pressure on, while also chipping in with the opening goal. Saiz was back to his old self and is another worthy contender, Liam Cooper had his best game in a Leeds shirt in some time, Kalvin Phillips has adapted quickly to his new position and played brilliantly even if he is sporting the worst haircut I’ve seen in years, Kemar Roofe silenced a lot of doubters with a great performance, Pablo was Pablo… I could make an argument for every player on the park receiving it.

Hero of the day

An unlikely hero comes in the form of Bradford City fan, Katie Whyatt. Katie was manning the BBC live text feed for the match and became something of a viral sensation as her updates delighted the Whites faithful. I’m not sure how it’ll play at Valley Parade, but she’s found many new fans amongst the Leeds support.

Rate the players