Leeds United v Sheffield United: Coach Christiansen is considering toying with his 4-2-3-1 system

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Thomas Christiansen hinted that he was giving thought to matching up to Sheffield United by fielding three at the back tomorrow as he weighed up the loss of Gaetano Berardi to suspension.

Berardi is one game into a three-match ban after his red card at Bristol City last weekend, a dismissal which seemed to open the door for Vurnon Anita to replace him at left-back, but Christiansen said he had considered a change of formation which “would probably not need a specific full-back”.

Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder employed a three-man defence on his way to the League One title last season and is keeping faith with the system to good effect this term.

The Blades are third in the Championship with the division’s second-best defensive record.

Christiansen, in contrast, has maintained a four-man backline as part of a 4-2-3-1 set-up but the Leeds head coach has a number of players who could operate as wing-backs, including Luke Ayling, Gjanni Alioski and Stuart Dallas.

Dallas is back in contention tomorrow evening after missing the past two games following a family bereavement.

Suspended Leeds United defender, Gaetano Berardi. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Suspended Leeds United defender, Gaetano Berardi. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Christiansen also has four available centre-backs in Liam Cooper, Matthew Pennington, Pontus Jansson and Conor Shaughnessy.

The United boss said: “First of all I have to see which system I take – if I change the system or don’t. If I change the system I will probably not need a specific full-back.”

Asked if he was hinting at a plan to play three at the back, Christiansen said: “Perhaps. They (Sheffield United) play with another system so I will see what I do. That could be a possibility. The players could be comfortable with that.”

Gjanni Alioski

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