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.
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."
Manchester United sign Dutch striker Weghorst on loan
Manchester United have signed Dutch striker Wout Weghorst on loan until the end of the season from Championship club Burnley, the Premier League side said on Friday.
"I've played against the club in the past and it's a fantastic feeling to now have the chance to pull on the famous red shirt," the 30-year-old Weghorst said.
"I've seen United's progress under (manager) Erik ten Hag this season and can’t wait to start playing my part in pushing the team towards its aims. Whatever happens in the next few months, I can promise to give everything to the club."
Weghorst had spent the first half of the season on loan at Turkish club Besiktas, where he scored nine goals in 18 appearances across all competitions.
Besiktas said it will receive 2.83 million euros ($3.06 million) to terminate their loan deal with the striker.
Weghorst joined Burnley in January 2022 for 12 million pounds ($14.68 million) but could not prevent the team from being relegated from the top flight in May.
"Wout has a consistent goal-scoring record across several European leagues, and his attributes will add a further dimension to our squad for the remainder of the season," John Murtough, United's director of football, said.
"We were also attracted by his strong personality and dedicated approach to football, which fits perfectly with the spirit that Erik is building within our squad. He has shown a huge desire to join Manchester United."
Wolves sign Gabon international midfielder Lemina
Wolverhampton Wanderers have signed Gabonese midfielder Mario Lemina from Nice on a contract until 2025, the Premier League club said on Friday.
The 29-year-old, who had spells at Fulham and Southampton, returns to English football after making 58 appearances since 2021 for Nice.
"The transfer includes a further 12-month option and comes after Lemina spent the first half of the campaign playing regularly for Ligue 1 side Nice," Wolves said in a statement.
Wolves coach Julen Lopetegui told reporters earlier on Friday: "Mario is a good player. We know him and he wants to be here.
"He knows the English league and has the profile to be a good player for us ... He knows his job."
Lamina is Wolves' second January transfer window signing after Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha.
Wolves are 19th in the Premier League and host West Ham on Saturday.