He may not be every Leeds United fan’s first choice, likely not even on their list at all, but Thomas Christiansen is the man in charge at Leeds United.
After Garry Monk and the Whites parted company over three weeks ago, many names were put forward in hope, and some desperation, to fill the gap that the departing Monk had left. In fairness Christiansen would largely have gone underneath even NATO’s radar, let alone that of Leeds United fans, such was his surprise naming.
But he’s here now, settling into his role at the head of one of the pressure clubs of English football. He is to be unveiled to the press on Monday, until then Leeds United fans will have to sit tight and wait to hear anything from the new man in charge at Elland Road.
Things have been heard about him via local journalists such as Adam Pope, he’s been discussed by others such as John Leonidou from UEFA,com on BBC Radio Leeds’ West Yorkshire Sport Daily, and also from an APOEL Nicosia fan himself on Peacock and Smiley blog.
Taking the latter, fan Andrew says to Peacock and Smiley of Christiansen that, “he really likes possession” and that his, “analysis before the game was great every opponent was well scouted.” That attention to detail has also been hinted at with a reported insight said to be from his interview where he analysed the Leeds United squad saying what could be improved.
Five things that Thomas Christiansen must do from Monday at Leeds United
1. Win over the fan base: Easier said than done really because Leeds United fans are notoriously hard to please as well as, strange as it seems, quite easy to win over. That oxymoron actually works with Leeds United fans and Christiansen should easily be able to win over the fans on a path trodden carefully.
Honest effort and endeavour have worked before, as has that esprit de corps that runs through Leeds United fans, coming out as that ‘Marching on Together’ psyche. Christiansen’s predecessor at Elland Road, Garry Monk, gave Leeds United fans what they’d been lacking over recent seasons: a gelled together side and a series of performances that delivered a sense of renewed hope. That’s all that the new man needs to do.
2. See through the Taylor situation: When he refused to play against Wigan Athletic in Leeds United’s final game of the 2016/17 season, Charlie Taylor signed the football version of a death warrant at Leeds United. Refusing to play, putting self before side is like Caesar crossing the Rubicon – as it signalled his attack on Rome, Taylor fired the signal that led to hatred from Leeds United fans..
Let’s not beat about the bush, there is no coming back for Charlie Taylor at Elland Road. His actions were unforgivable and are definitely unforgettable. What Christiansen needs to do is to make sure that he clears the decks, gets rid of Taylor and starts afresh with those he has at his disposal.
3. Find a regular goal scorer other than Chris Wood: It could be a case of scouring outside of the club or looking within, but something needs to be done to find the goals. Chris Wood provided Leeds United with 27 goals in the league last season, ending as the league’s Golden Boot top scorer.
4. Find Pontus Jansson a central defensive partner: With Kyle Bartley unlikely to return to Leeds United to renew his partnership with Swede Jansson, there is a need to create a solid core at the heart of the Leeds United defence. The Whites do have Liam Cooper at their disposal, but fans will readily tell you that there isn’t the same level of confidence around a Jansson/Cooper partnership as there was a Jansson/Bartley partnership.
So, with that in mind, there is a need to bring in someone who will work well alongside Jansson, displaying the same doggedly defensive characteristics as Kyle Bartley did. There is, of course, a very slim chance that Bartley may yet arrive as a Leeds player but fan money is that he will follow former Leeds United boss Garry Monk to Middlesbrough.
5. Deliver Leeds fans a season of hope: Last season Garry Monk created a solid platform with what he did with the same squad left at the disposal of Christiansen. All the new head coach/manager has to do is build from this and use the solid basis as a springboard.
It really made a difference for fans that the weekend didn’t bring a sense of impending doom any longer. Leeds fans actually began to look forward to games with much more gusto than usual, that’s the magic of hope. But it was well-founded hope, hope that came from a moulded team that often ground out results. All that Thomas Christiansen has to do is capture the zeitgeist and give Leeds fans a season stuffed with similar hope to what they had last season.