Paul Heckingbottom is now four games into his reign at Leeds United and there are already signs that Leeds United are improving.
Here are five things we have learned from his time as Leeds United boss so far:
Heckingbottom has already shown he is not afraid to drop players if they are not performing. Eunan O’Kane was omitted from the squad completely in the draw at Derby recently following two poor performances against Sheffield United and Bristol City. Laurens De Bock wasn’t even included in the matchday 18 against Brentford after a shocking display at Derby, and Kemar Roofe and Gjanni Alioski have also felt ruthlessness of Heckingbottom. This is a stark contrast to Thomas Christiansen, who consistently played out of form players.
Leeds have used 3 different formations already under Heckingbottom. The Whites used a 4-3-3 in his first game in charge, 4-4-2 against both Bristol City and Derby and a 4-2-3-1 against Brentford. United fans will not be used to the varied setups, with two previous managers Garry Monk and Thomas Christiansen rarely veering away from a 4-2-3-1 no matter the opponent.
HARDER TO BEAT
Leeds are now unbeaten in their last three league matches. They have picked up five points from three teams who sit above them in the league table. The Whites were denied a victory away at Derby courtesy of a stoppage time equaliser by Kasey Palmer, as well as keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over free-flowing Brentford. Leeds’ performance at Derby was a typical, dogged Championship away performance showing a change in strategy from the open and attacking style Christiansen looked to operate with.
It is pretty clear that players are working harder under Heckingbottom. Although Alioski is notorious for his industrious work rate, he took this to a new level against Brentford. The winger made a game high eight tackles (LUFCDATA) showing his fight for the cause. Samu Saiz also showed a different side to his game on Saturday, helping press high if he were to make a mistake.
In Thomas Christiansen’s last five matches in charge of Leeds the Whites picked up four red cards. Heckingbottom made it clear in his first press conference that player discipline had to improve and this has become apparent already with no red cards under his reign so far.