Will Leeds United revert to type under Thomas Christiansen?by Mike Holden / 03 August 2017, 14:59Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Thomas Christiansen and Leeds ahead of the 2017/18 Championship season.
The sleeping giant was reawakened by Garry Monk last season, as Leeds ended a run of five successive bottom-half finishes with a genuine charge for promotion. However, 75 points proved insufficient to secure a play-off berth and new owner Andrea Radrizzani was unable to agree terms with Monk in the summer, who later rocked up at Middlesbrough. So Radrizzani turned to Thomas Christiansen and the Dane is a real wild card, having only managed in the UAE and Cyprus. Last season, he guided APOEL Nicosia to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Early interviews suggest that Christiansen shares a similar temperament to Monk, so existing players might not be too unsettled by any change in dynamic with regards to how they apply themselves and how things are communicated. After seeing his career cut short by injury at 33, he worked as an agent for a while but turned his back on the industry after being asked to tout players who belonged to other representatives, which implies high morals and a tendency to do things by the book.
"I will try and put my ideas onto the pitch and bring the idea that the players dominate games and control it. This is progress I have to show. But I am very excited and believe we can do good things. I will be new in this league, but I am very flexible. I have my ideas of how I want to play, but I have to adapt to different circumstances - the league, the players we have in this squad and, of course, the opponent."
Last season was an exception rather than the rule for Leeds and while their long-term prospects have probably improved under a more hinged ownership regime, an influx of foreign unknowns might need time to acclimatise. Christiansen is an unconvincing appointment based on his track record but it would be folly to completely disregard his achievements at APOEL last season. Until we actually see the Dane in action and how he responds to testing conditions that are bound to come his way, we can only assume United will revert to type.
Prediction: bottom half