A slow, messy, thaw had begun melting the thick snow banked up by the sides of the roads outside the stadium and, inside it, Leeds’s once solid midfield seemed to be dissolving in sympathy.
Leeds have had much better days but a big part of that was down to Brighton’s excellence. They were so good it seemed almost unbelievable this was their first Premier League win since November.
On Saturday’s immensely encouraging evidence it is hard to imagine Brighton being involved in the struggle to avoid relegation for much longer, but recent results tell a different story.
Graham Potter’s mission is to inspire consistency. “Our challenge now is to turn good performances into results,” he said. “We have to fight. We have to be brave.”
It was the first time Leeds had lost three successive games during Marcleo Bielsa’s tenure and bar Jack Harrison bending a shot wide of the post they created precious little.
“We can defend much better, and we can create much more danger,” he said. “We should have managed a better result. Normally our opponents have more difficulty managing the ball.”
Considering it involved a once cherished former employee and a compatriot, the construction of Neil Maupay’s early winner can only have exacerbated Bielsa’s agony.
Ben White, who excelled on loan at Elland Road last season, dribbled assuredly from central midfield before playing in Alexis Mac Allister. The 21-year-old Argentinian, previously on loan at Boca Juniors, played an exquisite one-two with Leandro Trossard before taking goalkeeper Kiko Casilla – making his first Premier League start of the season in place of the absent Illan Meslier – out of the equation with a perfectly weighted low pass across the box that invited Maupay to dispatch the ball into an unguarded net.
High calibre as that preamble proved, it was facilitated by poor defending and Stuart Dallas and Liam Cooper in particular will not relish watching replays highlighting their failure to eliminate the danger.