Leeds United's Premier League relegation fears heightened as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa on Friday, leaving Jesse Marsch's side without a win in their last seven games in all competitions.
Villa raced into the lead inside three minutes at Villa Park, with Leon Bailey sweeping the ball home on the end of a swift counter attack.
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Leeds responded well, and but for home goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez would have levelled before the break, with the Argentina stopper making several fine saves to keep the visitors at bay, the best being to deny Jack Harrison from close range.
Martinez continued to keep Leeds at bay early in the second half, before Emiliano Buendia's header in the 64th minute, a goal that was initially ruled out for offside but then awarded following a VAR review, put the hosts in control.
Patrick Bamford stepped off the bench to get Leeds back into it with six minutes left, but the visitors could not muster an equaliser, leaving them 14th in the standings, just two points above the relegation zone. Villa are 11th with 25 points.
Given the chances they had in the match, Leeds will feel like their trip to the Midlands was an opportunity missed. They have now won just two of their last 15 league games.
"When you are in the season and looking at the table and want to get points and win matches and you lose it hurts, but for me this was our best performance," Marsch told the BBC.
"It was the most complete performance we have had since I've been here. It is a really positive sign for me. It hurts to lose but a really positive performance."
Villa have registered four wins in their first six Premier League games under Unai Emery, one victory more than they managed in their previous 17 in the competition beforehand.
"It was important to score the second goal because they were playing well to try and score and they did," Emery said.
"It was important to have the advantage of the two goals to close the match and get the three points."