There were fireworks in the technical area after the final whistle when Leeds’s new-look team completed their comeback victory. Before embarking on a lap of honour, Jesse Marsch received an earful from Wolves manager Bruno Lage, who was furious at a comment from his counterpart earlier in the game.
Bad blood between the two started last season when Leeds wiped out a two-goal deficit to win at Molineux. This time Marsch had clearly been unhappy at Hwang Hee-chan being floored by a flick of a hand to his face in the first half when words were exchanged again.
“There was a point in the first half that I heard something that I didn’t like,” Lage said. “When he came to speak to me at the end I said there are some things you just cannot say.”
Marsch had seen his team battle back from Daniel Podence’s opening goal to secure the win and was up for the fight himself, with the managers jabbing fingers at each other. “First half today and second half. Last year too. Emotional moments. I wanted to be respectful, but it didn’t go that way,” Marsch said.
It was a hot-blooded, energised welcome to the Premier League for Marsch’s new signings. Leeds may have sold their two most influential players this summer but have unearthed a new star in Brenden Aaronson.
As the American midfielder wheeled away to celebrate his part in the winning goal, the departure of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips was a distant memory. It was vindication too for Marsch, who wanted the player after working with him at Red Bull Salzburg.
Aaronson, 21, actually played a key role in both goals after his new team conceded early. After winning the ball for Rodrigo’s equaliser, he slid to get on the end of a cross that went in off Wolves defender Rayan Ait-Nouri.
“It came off my shin somewhere in there. I’m taking credit for it,” said the midfielder, who is nicknamed the Medford Messi after his hometown in New Jersey.
Marsch’s team have a different look, a new system and are no longer reliant on Raphinha or Phillips. They look stronger for the changes, a more balanced team than the one that started last season under Marcelo Bielsa.
While Leeds have lost Phillips’ control in front of the back four, they have compensated with numbers. Tyler Adams and Marc Roca protected the defence and they looked more solid for it. Earlier they were caught cold by Wolves. Podence volleyed in off the underside of the bar after a swift counter-attack that saw Rasmus Kristensen, another new signing, brushed off the ball moments earlier. Kristensen was also taken out by Jose Sa at a corner but was not awarded a penalty.
While the focus was on how Leeds’s new signings fared, it was a worrying afternoon for Wolves without club captain Conor Coady, who was on the bench and has an uncertain future. He is behind Nathan Collins and Max Kilman in the pecking order now despite starting every game last season. Wolves could have done with Coady’s organisation when their back line was robbed by Aaronson and Rodrigo scored at the near post. With Everton looking at a deal, he could be one of the bargains of the window.