David Prutton: Now's not the time to be doubting Leeds United boss Christiansen

I DON'T THINK it's time to be getting rid of Thomas Christiansen as Leeds United head coach.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 3rd November 2017, 5:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:58 am
Thomas Christiansen.
Thomas Christiansen.

It’s a bit different to last season when there was a slow start at Leeds and then an upturn. This time there has been a good start and then a slow turn.

It just depends how much longer it goes on and when it goes into double figures from a point of view of not winning, then you really are struggling.

And it’s not helped by looking at the manner of the defeats as what Sheffield United showed on Friday was a way of playing that was full of confidence and fearless which made Leeds look a little bit timid at times.

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Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani.

I just think that when that absolute top first XI are not performing at Leeds then you look around for strength in depth which they maybe haven’t quite got at this moment in time.

But Andrea Radrizzani seems to be preaching stability and continuity and Radrizzani has the club set up for stability. But results are absolutely paramount.

At this moment in time, it is not a squad with everybody playing at their best. We have seen that in recent weeks with Pontus Jansson being in and out of the team and with Pablo Hernandez.

They are very important players from last season which just goes to show that it can happen no matter who you are within a squad.

Brentford manager Dean Smith.

It just seems to be a case that Leeds have got players going through that period at the same time. There’s not one or two, there’s several that have just gone off the boil a little bit in terms of form.

Changes of shape and formation are options but I think if you do too much it smacks of somebody going ‘what the hell do we do’ and ‘let’s just go for it’. There was a case for that to be made against Ronald Koeman with players not playing in their right positions and several formations being worked on or being used but not bearing fruit.

But I think from Leeds’ point of view then 4-4-2 does make you very, very solid if you get Pierre-Michel Lasogga up front with the support of a second striker – somebody who is predominantly, across the course of the game, a lot closer to him for longer periods of time. It’s nice to have those three in behind but there’s a lot of interchanging there and room for manoeuvre but perhaps not consistency.

But if Lasogga is up there with someone like Kemar Roofe then you get two solid midfielders and you get two wingers who will track back and will help to defend and will dovetail in with the full-backs who we know like to get forward.

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani.

It would give Leeds a separate security and platform because it’s about being able to get a lead, being able to protect a lead and grinding out results. That’s what this next few weeks will be about for Leeds. It will be a case of ‘let’s get our heads down and let’s get towards December in decent shape to be able to work on the Christmas programme’.

It’s nice when football is nice to watch and it’s nice when it’s entertaining but it’s a hell of a lot nicer when you are winning. When you are rolling those losses and draws into wins then it’s a lot more comfortable for managers, fans, players and the hierarchy alike.

Tomorrow’s game against Brentford at Griffin Park will be a big barometer for Leeds because of the start to the season Brentford had, even though they are picking up slowly. With Leeds setting their own decent pace, the test was always whether they could keep that up. And with Leeds and Thomas, if you get into double figures with defeats then I always think that becomes a bit of a mental hurdle to jump over.

Confidence will not be high because of the recent results but there have been some decent performances as well at the start of the season. It’s perspective, whether there is perspective in football, but I don’t think you can make the Brentford game as much of a crunch game as perhaps some people might like to.

Brentford manager Dean Smith.

But we are moving towards a busy period coming up to Christmas where they have got to stay in touch with the top six.

We all know if you have a bad run up to Christmas then you come out of the other side with some serious catching up to do.

Brentford had a sluggish start to the season but they are in a position where the pressure feels like it is on Leeds.

When they are playing well, Brentford’s ground is a cosy, tight little place to go and we are covering the game on Sky Sports. It will be fascinating to watch.

Brentford have got the likes of Ollie Watkins who has stepped up through the leagues – stories which I have got a lot of time for. And Brentford boss Dean Smith is in a manager in a different position to Thomas.

He has probably benefited from patience from above because they know there will be a lot of players that go.

They have brought one or two in and they have had to deal with being a selling club but they understand that and Dean understands that – just as long as he can get the players in that he wants to work with – the likes of Watkins who are good, young players who are hungry for success.

Thomas’ remit is not a million miles away from that but the expectation levels are different and the fan bases are different; it’s a different fan base altogether.

The expectation level is there for Leeds but Brentford will be very, very confident about going into this and getting a result.

Upcoming Sky-televised Championship fixtures: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham (Fri, kick-off 7.45pm); Brentford v Leeds United (Sat, kick-off 5.30pm); Middlesbrough v Sunderland (Sun, kick-off 12.15pm).