An “outrageous” acrobatic effort on goal against West Ham on Monday was emblematic of the confidence of Leeds United star Raphinha.
That is according to ex-Leeds forward and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Marcelo Bielsa’s side’s 2-0 defeat at the London Stadium on Monday.
In the 51st minute, the 24-year-old attempted an overhead kick which took a deflection before being saved by Fabianski.
Had it found the back of the net, the strike would have been the £17million summer signing’s eleventh goal contribution since his move to West Yorkshire.
Whelan bemoaned another crucial Raphinha miss later in the game but was emphatic in his praise of the supremely talented Brazilian.
“Raphinha was very quiet in the first 20 or 30 minutes of the game,” he told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“Second half, when you need to show a bit of fight, we know he’s got that. It’s one of the thing things that I love so much about him. He gets upset by defeats. You can see that they hurt him.
“He was trying everything. The overhead kick that took a deflection, I don’t think any other player would have tried that in the Leeds United side.
“It goes to show the confidence and the belief in his own abilities that he has to try something as outrageous as that. It nearly came off.
“He’s one of these players that rise to the occasion and stands up to the fight. When you’re 2-0 down, his head doesn’t go down to the ground, his body language isn’t bad.
“He’s one of these players that wants to really fight and get something out of the game. We need these players at Leeds.
“But he gets that opportunity and he knows himself that he should have scored. Anywhere to the right or the left, it’s a goal. We’ve seen him bend them in two or three times this season.”
His Leeds side are 11th in the Premier League table after winning just one of their last five matches.