Darko Milanic has challenged Leeds United’s squad to show their true colours tonight as he takes to the touchline at Elland Road for the first time.
Milanic said he wanted to see “another face of the team” against Reading after his maiden game as United’s head coach ended in a 2-0 defeat to Brentford on Saturday.
Leeds were soundly beaten at Griffin Park, losing their four-match unbeaten run and failing to replicate performances seen in previous games under caretaker boss Neil Redfearn.
In response, Milanic called for “a lot of tempo” and “a lot of energy” from his players tonight, admitting that a lack of intensity contributed to United’s defeat at Brentford.
The Slovenian, who left Sturm Graz in Austria to take control of Leeds last week, spoke of his anticipation ahead of a first home fixture in his new job, saying: “I’m very excited.
“I played in very important games and I was a coach for very important games too so this is not something new for me.
“But I get to see for the first time the fans of Leeds United at home.
“It will not be easy for us tonight. We have opponents who also want to win but I want to see another face of the team.
“The first thing we have to do better is bring a lot of energy to the game.
“We must be a team and think like a team. I know that Reading are very quick and dynamic so we have to play with a lot of tempo too.
“Football is difficult to explain sometimes. Why do you have tempo today but tomorrow you have none?
“It’s very difficult to explain. But we have to prepare for this game better and we have to put ourselves into it 100 per cent.”
Milanic said he was likely to make changes to the line-up he used at Brentford, with Casper Sloth among the players in contention to return to the starting side. United’s head coach has no new selection concerns but Gaetano Berardi will be missing again as he serves the second match of a two-game ban.
Milanic has never coached in England before but he claimed that the experience of a competitive outing at Griffin Park on Saturday had given him a clearer understanding of the players he had taken on.
“Yes I feel that,” he said. “It will make it a little bit easier tomorrow. Maybe after 30 games it will be much better but after every game it is easier.
“For some players, new contact with a coach can be difficult. But they are professionals and we have to get to know each other as soon as possible. That’s very important.”
Reading are 11th in the Championship, a point and two places above Leeds, after a 3-3 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.
The club have a doubt over Jake Taylor who is carrying a hamstring injury but manager Nigel Adkins hopes Hal Robson-Kanu will be fit and available for his first league appearances of the season.
Robson-Kanu scored in Reading’s 4-2 defeat of Leeds at Elland Road last season.