Goalkeeper Wiedwald backed by Leeds United boss Christiansen

THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN has given his backing to goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald and indicated that the German's place is not under threat over the defensive issues which undermined Leeds United in their defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald. Picture: Tony Johnson.Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald. Picture: Tony Johnson.

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Wiedwald looks set to maintain his ever-present Championship record against Reading on Saturday after receiving a vote of confidence from his head coach in the wake of Leeds’ 3-0 loss at Hillsborough before the international break.

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The former Werder Bremen keeper, who replaced Rob Green as first choice at Elland Road following a £500,000 move from Germany in June, was criticised for lacking conviction against Wednesday and contributing to a result which Christiansen described as the “worst” of his short reign as head coach.

The United boss has fellow summer signing Andy Lonergan in reserve but Christiansen insisted he had faith in Wiedwald’s experience and defended the 27-year-old by pointing to the run of six clean sheets which preceded the club’s first defeat of the season away at Millwall last month.

That impressive streak has been followed by the concession of nine goals in four matches but Christiansen said: “I have confidence in all my goalkeepers.They are working well and I’m not one to criticise in public. If I have something to say I will say it to the player straight.

“Everyone has to settle in. I have to settle in still. We’ve only played a few games in this league and he’s not the only one, there are many others.

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“We work together and when we win, we win all together. We also have to remember that he’s got six clean sheets behind him. If he was so bad, he couldn’t have done that before.”

Leeds United manager Thomas ChristiansenLeeds United manager Thomas Christiansen
Leeds United manager Thomas Christiansen

Wiedwald was not alone in struggling at Hillsborough, where Leeds suffered a third straight away loss, but the club held onto a position in the Championship’s play-off places despite the result and will attempt to rectify their recent downturn against Jaap Stam’s Reading at Elland Road this weekend.

“We’re all professional and he (Wiedwald) is professional,” Christiansen said. “He comes from a competitive league, the Bundesliga, and from a good team like Werder Bremen.

“He’s been in this situation before and he will, for sure, come over it. I have faith in all my players.”