I want to play in the Premier League with Leeds United, says Pontus Jansson
Pontus Jansson insisted he was ready for another season at Leeds United but said he wanted to know what the club's next move would be after describing the second half of this term as 'the toughest four months in my football career.'
The Sweden international said he was looking to “speak to people in this club about what the goals are” following Leeds’ failure to compete for a Championship play-off position in his second campaign at Elland Road.
Jansson, who signed a new five-year contract before Christmas, was part of the United team who finished seventh last season, narrowly short of play-off qualification, but Leeds have regressed rapidly and are 13th in the table with six games to play.
United moved to protect Jansson - arguably the most valuable asset in their squad - by handing the centre-back a long-term deal to 2022 but Jansson, who has been heavily linked with Southampton at stages of his career at Elland Road, is set to to travel to this year’s World Cup with Sweden, potentially increasing the likelihood of transfer bids in the summer window.
Jansson was quoted by the Swedish media last month as saying he wanted assurances from United about their plans to improving to the playing squad but speaking before of Saturday's game against Sunderland, the defender reiterated his commitment to Leeds.
Asked if he intended to be at the club next season, Jansson said: “For sure. I signed a five-year deal and I said it since the first day here: this club changed my life and changed my football career. I’m proud and happy with that.
“You never know in football but what I said in Sweden, you use Google Translate to understand it so maybe something is not correct. That’s a normal reaction for me. Of course I feel frustrated, of course I want to speak to people in this club about what the goals are. I said I had a dream to play in the Premier League but I also said that the dream for me is playing with Leeds. That’s what I said from day one.
“The only thing I said is that I want to talk to people around this club and just hear them being positive, to see what they want. I also said that this club belongs in the Premier League.”
Leeds have won just two competitive games in this calendar year, a 1-0 victory over Brentford in February and a 2-1 defeat of Bolton Wanderers last week. Jansson braded the club’s form “ridiculous” and admitted confidence amongst their players was at a low ebb.
“It’s tough and it takes a lot out of you,” he said. “These four months for me have been the toughest in my football career.
“We have two wins in four months. To be fair, that’s ridiculous. It’s been tough for me and for others also. All you can do is go out there and try to change it.”
Leeds slipped into the bottom half of the Championship after a 2-0 loss to Fulham in midweek and the club are long since out of contention for sixth place.
Jansson said the division gave a fair reflection of United’s performance this season. “At the end, always, the table how it is is how it should be. If we’re not in the play-offs then we don’t deserve to be there. That’s true.
“Last year people said we deserved to be in the play-offs but we didn’t. We came seventh and that’s how it is.”