Ken Bates went on to warn his players that with a trip to Wembley for the Johnstone's Paints Trophy in the offing they "must win over the two legs. The fans expect it".
But Carlisle United's first-leg victory last night meant the chairman cannot start making plans for Wembley just yet.
Carlisle are not a big club. It is why they lost their talismanic striker -- Vince Pericard - last week, while their League One counterparts resisted a £1.8m Newcastle United bid for theirs - Jermaine Beckford.
Yet despite their supposed inferiority, there is something about Elland Road that brings the best out of them, winning two and drawing the other of their last three visits.
The Cumbrians took ten minutes or so to find their feet, then took control of it through Matty Robson.
The left-sided midfielder created his side's first real chance, and what should have been their first goal.
His low cross curled into the path of Scott Dobie, who seemed no more able than anyone else in the ground to understand how his shot hit Robert Snodgrass rather than the net from yards out.
Carlisle took heart from Leeds' escape, and when Robson's shot deflected again to Dobie, it took Leigh Bromby's brilliant slide tackle to stop the striker shooting.
The visitors had been moving the ball around with aplomb, but the move which brought their goal was more direct.
Evan Horwood hoisted a cross and fellow full-back Richard Keogh, one of Carlisle's unsung heroes this season, rose to head it for Graham Kavanagh to volley in.
It was by no means one-way traffic, however, with Leeds dangerous on the break, helped by the difficulties Carlisle had in clearing the ball. Inevitably most of their moves ended at the feet of Beckford.
The Londoner missed the target when clean through in the sixth minute, and when Robson's poor pass played in Snodgrass, he allowed Pidgeley to make a low save. His attempted chip when clean through again in the 29th was not the strike of a £1.8m striker.
If those misses - and a few others - gave the impression this could be Carlisle's night, the idea was further strengthened when Beckford stroked the ball against the post.
Pidgeley also did well to keep out Mike Grella's overhead kick as Leeds started to turn up the pressure.
The interval did nothing to stop the flow, and soon Leeds were level. When Andrew Hughes crossed from the left Pidgeley came out to collect but got nowhere near the ball, allowing Jason Crowe to head in.
The full-back should have put his side in front as Horwood got caught underneath another Hughes cross. This time, though, the ball found Crowe's right foot, and was volleyed over.
The tide had very definitely changed. Keogh proved as much with some time-wasting antics he was lucky not to be booked for.
But Carlisle weathered the storm - Pidgeley saving well from Bradley Johnson and Howson - and regained the initiative in the final 15 minutes.
Kavanagh and Kevan Hurst both went close and only good defending by Neil Kilkenny stopped substitute Joe Anyinsah getting on the end of a great Tom Taiwo ball.
But Anyinsah was not to be denied, jumping highest to head in an excellent Ian Harte free-kick with six minutes left.
The win was only preserved by Pidgeley's save from a Luciano Becchio header and Danny Livesey's goal-line clearance from Howson's follow-up.
It is less than two years since Carlisle won a semi-final first leg 2-1 at Elland Road, only to succumb in the second.
But they have a great opportunity to exorcise the ghost of Jonny Howson - and leave Bates wishing he had kept his confidence to himself.
LEEDS UNITED (4-4-2): Ankegren; Crowe, Naylor, Bromby, Hughes; Snodgrass, Kilkenny, Howson, Johnson; Grella (Becchio 83), Beckford.
Subs (not used): Doyle, Michalik, White.
Goals: Crowe 56.
Booked: Johnson 44.
CARLISLE UNITED (4-4-1-1): Pidgeley; Keogh, Livesey, Harte, Horwood; Hurst, Clayton, Taiwo, Robson; Kavanagh (Bridge-Wilkinson 83); Dobie (Anyinsah 67).
Subs (not used): Collin, Murphy, Offiong.
Goals: Kavanagh 21, Anyinsah 87.
Booked: Hurst 87.
Referee: Andy Penn (West Midlands).