Leeds United: Jansson looks well suited to our game – Ritchie

Pontus Jansson.
Pontus Jansson.
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PONTUS JANSSON has come in and is already emerging as a bit of a cult hero and fans are looking at him as the defensive leadership figure which has been missing at Leeds United.

We all thought this when Sol Bamba first came in. But you have to say that the signs are good and I think he is certainly a different character.

With the way that the Swedes and Scandinavians play the game over there, I have always thought that those players are best suited to our game.

When you bring imports in, I always feel that Scandinavians have a better chance of adapting to the way that we play as I think we are very similar in mentality.

I think back to when I was playing at Oldham with the likes of Gunnar Halle and Tore Pedersen and people like that and they know the game over here and have got that mentality.

You are always onto a better level with these sort of players, if not always onto a certain winner.

Leeds have obviously brought in a lot of Italian players before and I am not knocking them here. But there can be a temperament issue and it can take some adapting for them to learn to play in English football.

The Scandinavian players are more suited to that, for me.

Obviously, the attendance of 8,488 for the EFL Cup game with Blackburn Rovers earlier this week at Elland Road made the headlines and that’s a small crowd by Leeds’ standards.

Really you would expect at the very least, a gate of 10-12 to 15,000 for a game like that, even though it is the EFL Cup. Maybe people made their voice known about the pricing, I don’t know.

After two good wins in the league, the cup game gave a chance to keep that momentum going and confidence and Leeds at least did that by winning.

Leeds are showing a few signs of getting to play the way in which the manager wants. It was a good win and while Chris Wood had a couple of chances at it before finding the net, he’s scoring isn’t he? He is answering his critics a little bit.

If Chris gets service, he will score goals. He’s a big lad and sometimes it is a little bit unfair to play him on his own up there.

He is a strong runner, without having that extra pace that you need. But he has certainly got that physical presence.

For me, he can still improve on his finishing as he could have had a hat-trick at Cardiff. But he is what he is and it is about utilising him to the best of his abilities and Garry is getting that out of him.

People are talking about performances still along with getting victories. But for me, especially where we are currently at Leeds, it is a case of, first and foremost, getting some wins on the board and then looking at the way you want to play and the personnel that you want to bring in. Because you know that the owner has a bit of a ‘trigger finger.’

I read that Chris Wood spoke this week about it maybe taking the manager six months to fine-tune his style and get everything right, although I think he is being a bit optimistic at that.

You cannot really get perfection, but you can get something that is very close to what you want to see your side delivering every week. It takes a lot longer, for me.

Now, at least we are seeing a little bit of a halo at the end of the tunnel. I won’t say light!..

There are little forms of something happening, but it takes time for it to happen over 90 minutes. But the main thing is Leeds are getting some results now and they are up to 15th in the Championship now.

What has happened at Leeds this season occurs everywhere. Teams go through a bit of a bad patch and some people say: ‘Oh this, that and the other’ and everybody jumps on the bandwagon.

Leeds just need to temper it. No matter where you are, things take time and any sort of frenzy just adds to the pressure. It is about keeping things on an even keel.

Obviously, Joey Barton has made the news again this week after receiving a three-week suspension from Glasgow Rangers following a training ground incident.

We know what Joey is like and leopards never change their spots, unfortunately.

At Joey’s age, I thought he’d settle down and keep away from the limelight and then all this comes up again.

At some stage, he has got to start maturing. He’s 34 now. Come on.

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