After a rocky recent period, Leeds United got their Championship campaign back on track on Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 win over Bristol City.
Thomas Christiansen's side's bid for promotion hit a snag at the end of September when they lost 3-1 to Cardiff City, which was followed by two more disappointing defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Reading.
However, a much-needed win arrived at Ashton Gate on Saturday, with an impressive performance over the high-flying Robins to reignite the Yorkshire's club's campaign.
The increasingly impressive Samuel Sáiz struck twice inside the opening 14 minutes to fire Leeds into a commanding position before Pierre-Michel Lassoga added a third to seal the points and lift Leeds to fourth place in the table.
Sáiz was once again lauded for an eye-catching display, but Lasogga put in arguably his finest all-around performance since joining on loan from Hamburg in the summer.
The 25-year-old German striker was brought in as a hopeful replacement for Chris Wood, last season's 30-goal man who left for Burnley and the Premier League. He was Christiansen's 16th summer signing and was given the number nine shirt as the club pinned their hopes on him to fill the sizeable void left by Wood's departure.
The former Hertha Berlin forward made an immediate impact, scoring twice and setting up another on his debut as Leeds hammered Burton Albion 5-0.
Three days later, he set up another as Leeds beat Birmingham City 2-0.
However, against Millwall, fans turned on Lasogga after an anonymous display as the Whites conceded their first Championship goal of the season on a disappointing day at The Den.
Lasogga struggled to influence the game in the final third, earning his lowest WhoScored rating of the season with 6.03. It wasn't the greatest endorsement of Lasogga's talents, admittedly, as he lost 16 duels and 11 aerial battles against an organised and physical Millwall defence.
However, a week later, Lasogga redeemed himself and scored the opener in the 3-2 win over Ipswich Town. He didn't play against Cardiff as his wife had just given birth to his daugther and, while he failed to find the net in the defeats to Wednesday and Reading, he looked back to his best against Bristol.
Although Lasogga was back in the goals on Saturday, his manager still insisted he needed to improve other aspects of his game while offering a frank assessment of the German's recent form.
“I had my talk with him. I expected more from him in the last games, there hasn't been enough – what he gave us, especially keeping the ball,” Christiansen told BBC Radio Leeds.
“About the goal, I don't care. It's good, of course, that he scored but what we need is the continuity in the game when we play the long pass, it's not coming back immediately but we can keep it and we can have the possibility to take the second ball and we can arrive with more players.”
It's not difficult to see Christiansen's point. Although Lasogga scored the third goal – a glancing header at the near post from a corner – his hold-up play was a mix of the good and bad as he only managed to complete 56 per cent of his passes and was dispossessed three times.
For the win at Ashton Gate, Christiansen switched to a 4-3-3. It worked a treat. With Kalvin Phillips, Eunan O'Kane and Ronaldo Vieira as a trio in central midfield, Sáiz and Ezgjan Alioski flanked Lasogga up front.
Moving forward, it certainly looks the most suitable system for this Leeds side. It gives them balance, dynamism and creativity in the midfield while having two players supporting Lasogga will help the German enormously with his goal tally.
PLAYING TO HIS STRENGTHS
The creativity both on the flank and through the middle will be key to unleashing the German, who has proven both his ability to finish with both feet and his aerial prowess. He is, in many ways, a classic centre-forward. His natural instinct drives him to make runs in between centre-halves, and that's exactly what Christiansen wants from him on top of improving his link-up play.
Lasogga's ability to move defenders and capitalise on holes in defences has been evident with the goals he has to his name already. Against Burton, he displayed his killer instinct with a devastating pass-and-move with Eunan O'Kane which created the chance for the opening goal.
As soon as the ball is played into Lasogga's feet, he lays it off to O'Kane and drives behind the defenders, making O'Kane's decision for him.
Having beaten the defenders, Lasogga has the confidence to take the shot on from the edge of the area and finds the bottom corner.
Effectively the same thing happened against Ipswich, with Lassoga making a simple but deadly run between two defenders before charging forward and finishing with aplomb.
While Lasogga is unlikely to get near Woods' fantastic 30-goal haul, he offers Leeds that direct threat and presence up top that has already established him as a solid replacement for the New Zealand international.
EAGER TO LEARN FROM CHRISTIANSEN
Those at the Yorkshire club have been thoroughly impressed with his attitude and professionalism, too. It's important to remember that he signed right at the end of the transfer window. He came to a new country, to a league he had never experienced before and was thrown straight in at the deep end. Before the Burton win, he had not started a competitive game in ten months.
Yet, although he is still adapting to new surroundings and getting to know a Leeds squad stocked with summer arrivals, he has been hailed as a model professional. More importantly, he can score goals and, with Leeds harbouring realistic ambitions of promotion this season, they will be worth their weight in gold.
Christiansen, himself a former Bundesliga top-scorer during his time at VFL Bochum, knows what it's like to enjoy a prolific spell in Germany and then suddenly struggle with form and fitness. The Danish coach, emboldened by his own experiences, is imparting as much wisdom onto Lasogga and it seems to be working.
Lasogga has recognised that he can learn a lot by listening to his manager's instructions.
“There’s not a big difference between him and me when he played,” Lasogga told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “He was also a typical number nine and scored a lot of goals for Bochum and Hannover. I can learn a lot from him.”
While he has made a promising start, Leeds fans will be hoping that Christiansen's lessons continue to be taken on board.