Leeds manager Steve Evans reckons his team have learned harsh lessons after claiming a 2-0 win at Cardiff.
Mirco Antenucci’s injury-time goal settled a bad-tempered win that saw seven cards, Fabio Da Silva sent off and managers Russell Slade and Evans clash.
Antenucci followed Souleymane Doukara’s first-half effort to claim a second win in four days for Leeds after their 4-0 humiliation at Brighton.
But it still took a series of top saves from goalkeeper Marco Silvestri to claim the points after Cardiff dominated.
Evans said: “The players deserve all the credit for that win. We learned some harsh lessons in the defeat to Brighton but I feel we’ve been in a good place since then.
“Cardiff’s goalkeeper [David Marshall] could have been named man of the match in the first half with some fine saves before half-time and had we got that second goal then we would have won comfortably.
“But people will forget those saves because of Silvestri pulled so many out of the bag in the second half.
“It helps when you have two centre-backs playing so well and the defence working together like that, while you have two strikers who just ran all night. That’s the sort of attitude we need to show when you play for such a famous club.”
Fabio was ordered off after two bookings in the space of seven minutes but they still went close to snatching a draw as Lex Immers and Ken Zohore both struck the woodwork late on.
Cardiff were unbeaten in their last 13 games at home though the damage to their play-off hopes by defeat was softened as rivals Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town and Birmingham City all failed to win.
Manager Slade said: “Sometimes the game is cruel. We were knocking on the door all evening and even dominated with 10 men.
“I’m disappointed with the two goals, especially the first which we should have dealt with comfortably had we been more aware.
“But apart from those two lapses in concentration, the attitude was first-class, their goalkeeper was inspired and we didn’t have that ruthlessness to score and get the victory that we deserved.
“We had a stone-wall penalty (for an alleged handball by Giuseppe Bellusci). The player’s arms were out and if that’s not a penalty then I don’t know what the rules are.
“I felt we should have had a penalty and I don’t think he [Steve Evans] agreed but he didn’t have the same view as I had from upstairs. Steve is all right, we’ve had the odd run-in before but that’s by-the-by. What was important was that we gave a performance but didn’t get the result.”