Former Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen has revealed the reason why he was sacked as Leeds United manager.

The 44-year-old Dane labeled Samuel Saiz’s six-game suspension as the primary reason behind his sacking, claiming the Sky Bet Championship side “couldn’t afford” to replace the Spaniard in January.

The Leeds midfielder was handed a six-game suspension after admitting to have spat at Newport County midfielder Robbie Willmott in their 2-1 Emirates FA Cup defeat at Rodney Parade.

Having already selected a weakened team for that third-round fixture, Saiz was brought on as a second half substitute with Leeds leading 1-0. However two late goals humiliated the Whites and Saiz’s offence came in the aftermath of the Welsh side’s 89th-minute winner.

Leeds failed to win a game during Saiz’s suspension and – after 35 games in charge – Christiansen was dismissed following a 4-1 home defeat to Cardiff City.

Speaking to Danish publication BT, Christiansen said: “Our best player, Spaniard Samuel Saiz, got a red card for spitting at an opponent in the face as we went out of the FA Cup against Newport. He got six matches out and some of the others also got long suspensions.

“Samuel Saiz was our most important player in the offensive part of the game and we couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Suspensions and injuries piled up. The squad just wasn’t big enough for us to replace those players.”

The Dane had guided Leeds to top of the Sky Bet Championship in September with a seven-game unbeaten spell, however a dip in form during August and then after Christmas cost the Whites.

“It’s a big club which really dreams of moving back to the Premier League where they believe they belong. Every single season the club and its fans believe that now they’re there.

“The club’s fans said the team had not played so well for over a decade. With our good start, expectations grew a little more.”

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