Becchio hat-trick earns praise from Leeds boss Grayson

Leeds Argentinian striker Luciano Becchio came on as a second-half substitute to hit a hat-trick in the 3-1 home win over Bristol City.

Leeds Argentinian striker Luciano Becchio came on as a second-half substitute to hit a hat-trick in the 3-1 home win over Bristol City.

Whites boss Simon Grayson was full of praise for Becchio, saying: "He has been battered from pillar to post in the last few games playing as a lone striker so I felt he needed a breather and started him on the bench.

"We certainly reaped the rewards of sending him on just after the hour. He was there in the right place at the right time and fully deserved his hat-trick because he has worked ever so hard since he has been here. They were two great headers and a clinical finish.

"We did OK for an hour or so, passing the ball around without any real spark in and around the 18-yard box, but we felt if we kept doing the right things the opportunities would come along and that was proved right by Luciano's goals."

Becchio's contract is due to expire next summer but Grayson added: "Today's hat-trick has probably increased his negotiation rights. We are in negotiations with his representatives and we want to keep him because he is a fantastic player and we want to hold on to our best players.

"We will look to reach agreement but we must stay within our wage budget. The fans love him and he is a cult hero. To score his three goals in front of the kop was a great experience for him."

Bristol City boss Keith Millen pointed to an injury to Louis Carey and Leeds' changes as being the difference between the two sides.

He said: "Coming to Elland Road is tough. In the first half Leeds had the better chances and probably had more pressure on our goal but we had opportunities on the counter-attack.

"We were happy at half-time and early in the second half we were solid, so I couldn't see Leeds scoring. Then the injury to Louis Carey and the Leeds substitutions had a massive bearing on the game.

"They scored and we showed good spirit to equalise and it could have gone either way but we struggled to deal with Becchio down the middle and Lloyd Sam on the left wing. I was disappointed with our defending in the last 20 to 25 minutes because that has not been us in recent games. We were wide open. We had dealt quite well with their front play but Becchio came on and he is a strong lad who puts himself about.

"They were poor goals from our point of view but hopefully we will learn our lessons."

He added: "Regarding Louis Carey, hopefully there is nothing broken, though we will assess him tomorrow. The doctor has had a look at the ankle and thinks it may be deep bruising. I haven't seen the tackle (from Jonny Howson) so I will wait to see it before passing judgement, but Louis took a nasty whack. For him to come off you know it is a serious injury."

Have your say