Darko Milanic has a reputation on the continent for conservative football and at no stage in his five games as Leeds United’s head coach has the Slovenian thrown caution to the wind.
But with a first win eluding him and his reign approaching its second month, his attitude might change against Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow might. By his own admission, a “good point” secured at Carrow Road on Tuesday night was not the result of an attacking masterclass.
Milanic was rightly satisfied with a point away to Norwich City, not least after seeing his side fall behind to a goal early in the second half, but he promised more ambition and more “control” in United’s clash with Wolves at Elland Road this weekend.
“At Norwich we didn’t make a lot of good attacks,” Milanic said. “It was difficult for us but I expect tomorrow that we will be very dangerous and more offensive. And we will score more.
“On Tuesday we had to run a lot without the ball but I hope tomorrow we control the match better, with lots of possession and lots of passes. We have to move quickly; play quicker with the ball.
“I know and the team know that we have to win the game. I expect a hard game because (Wolves) play in an English style with a lot of tempo. They have dangerous players and they’re very physical.
“But I expect us to be extremely motivated. I expect us to take three points.”
Three points is Milanic’s total after five games in charge, a tally taken from draws against Norwich, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday.
The 46-year-old – United’s third coach this season, including the short tenure of caretaker boss Neil Redfearn – has implemented a clear strategy during his time in charge, sticking closely to the midfield diamond which Leeds employed again at Carrow Road.
But a tactical change in the second half was a reaction to Norwich’s dominance in the first 45 minutes, and Leeds fought back from Martin’s 58th-minute header to earn a 1-1 draw through Souleymane Doukara’s fifth goal of the season.
Asked if the diamond was suiting his team, Milanic said: “In parts of the games yes, in parts of the games no.
“If the opponent is dominant it can be difficult but when we control the game well then we can be dominant. It depends.
“If I see only the results so far then it’s not good. But if I look at how we are playing, since my first game at Brentford we’ve made steps forward.
“We were good in games and I saw lots of good moments. But we have to win games to get closer to the teams who are in the top half of the league.”
Leeds are 15th and will meet a top-six side for the second time in four days tomorrow.
Wolves produced a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough on Tuesday, climbing to fourth in the league with a result inspired by seven-goal Bakary Sako.
Their manager, Kenny Jackett, is into his second season in charge having led Wolves to promotion from League One in May but Milanic is still attempting to establish his most effective line-up having arrived in England from Sturm Graz at the end of September.
“In football you can have your best team in your mind but it all depends on daily form and also on problems,” Milanic said.
“It’s difficult to maintain form for a long period. We have quality, we have a lot of players, but it’s important that they maintain their form not only during one game but over a long period.
“I don’t think I know every detail about them yet. But after every training session, after every game, it gets better.”