Thursday, 11 August 2011

Nunez Fully Committed To Leeds Cause

Ramon Nunez has revealed that his Carling Cup rescue job for Leeds United was only possible due to turning down the chance to play for Honduras.The midfielder marked his first start at Elland Road by netting twice as Leeds fought back to beat Bradford City 3-2 in a thrilling first-round tie.For Nunez, his starring role on Tuesday night against the Bantams represented a welcome change of fortune after a year that has seen the 25-year-old fail to make the breakthrough since moving from Honduran club Olimpia during the 2010 summer transfer window.The double strike also represented reward for his decision not to join the Honduras squad to face Venezuela in Fort Lauderdale.Nunez, who has won 44 caps for his country, said: “I wanted to take a couple of games off international football to help myself at Leeds.“I want to be able to stay here and fight for my place. Honduras are playing Venezuela but I asked to stay here. It was something I touched on with the (Honduras) management. I told them I want to get settled in Leeds and this will benefit my game. I wanted to show my commitment to the team and let them know how much I want to do well here.”

Nunez’s decision to stay ensured United’s blushes were spared against League Two Bradford.

Trailing at half-time, Leeds drew level thanks to Nunez’s equaliser 26 seconds into the second half. Michael Flynn restored the visitors’ lead before Ross McCormack’s first goal of the season paved the way for Nunez to net the winner 15 minutes from time.

Nunez said: “I was happy to get the two goals but much happier that we got the win. It was a hard-fought game and, credit to Bradford, they made it tough for us.

“I also believe we made it tough for ourselves at times, too, and there are definitely things we need to work on. But we can do that. Half-time was like a wake-up call and we all knew that we had to play better in the second half.

“I was really disappointed because I had a great chance to score during the first half. There were so many things I could have done with the ball but didn’t.

“I did, though, know that it was still an early stage of the game so, if I kept my head, other chances would come along and I could tuck them away. Luckily, I was able to do that. The first goal was really important as it came early in the second half.

“Scoring two goals is always special but my parents were watching back home as well. It was about 12 o’clock when the game started so the timing was not too bad for them. I am sure they will be happy with what they saw.”

Nunez’s goals may have been his first in a Leeds shirt but he did manage to find the net three times in the Championship when on loan at Scunthorpe during the final few weeks of last season.

The Iron may have gone down despite Nunez’s late flurry of goals but the experience of playing regularly in the Championship meant he returned for pre-season with Leeds determined to make his mark.

And as part of that bid to establish himself at Elland Road, he has sought inspiration from team-mate Davide Somma. “I do look at Davide and see what he did. He went out on loan to Lincoln (in 2009-10), did well and then came back to score 12 goals last season. That is very admirable and is something I look up to. I want to do the same.

“Last season was very frustrating, especially as I am 25 and need to be playing first-team games. I knew that if I was patient that my chance would come. I love English football and want to do well here. It has always been a dream of mine to play here and I hope now that I have kick-started my career in England.

“Scunthorpe was good but I want to play for Leeds. I see this as just the start for me.”

Nunez’s double ensured Tuesday night ended on a high for United, who had slipped to a 3-1 defeat on the opening day at Southampton.

With back-to-back home games against Middlesbrough and Hull City to come in the next week, Nunez believes Leeds can push on. “Beating Bradford was very important as it could have made people nervous with two home games coming up.

“We had to win after the tough loss at Southampton. I believe it will lift our confidence.”

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