Leeds United: Brentford a must-win says under pressure Whites boss Christiansen
An emotional Thomas Christiansen hit out at referee Simon Hooper but conceded that he was facing a must-win game at Brentford on Saturday after a galling loss to Derby County last night.
Christiansen criticised Hooper for the late award of a penalty which allowed Derby to snatch a 2-1 win at Elland Road and berated his refusal to hand one to Leeds late in the first half at a time when United were dominating the game.
Leeds led through Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s eighth-minute strike when Gjanni Alioski went down under a challenge from Andre Wisdom as he tried to attack a cross from Kemar Roofe a few yards from goal.
County took advantage of the reprieve given to them by Hooper when Sam Winnall equalised on 72 minutes.
Winnall then scored again from the spot 10 minutes from time after Hadi Sacko was penalised for a foul on Tom Lawrence which appeared to occur outside the box.
In a frustrated mood after the match, Christiansen described himself as “impotent” in the face of those decisions but admitted he was under mounting pressure after six defeats from eight Championship games.
The 44-year-old – a surprise appointment as head coach when Leeds recruited him on the back of three years spent managing in Cyprus – has been in his job for just four months but faced questions about his future last night amid a severe loss of form.
Christiansen said: “I take my responsibilities but there are some things I can control and some things I can’t. The thing that I can’t control could have given us another goal. What do you want me to say?
“The defeat is very bad, another defeat and we cannot live with that. We have to change it. But I take my responsibility where I can. Some other things I can’t control.
“There was a clear penalty against Alioski and a non-penalty was given in the second half. Against that I feel impotent and it’s a shame for the players that they should suffer a defeat because one person took those decisions.
“It’s difficult for me to control a situation when it’s not in my hands. I believe we made one of our best games in the first half in a defensive aspect, stopping our opponent. We had the
possibility to close the game with a penalty in the first half and now we’re speaking about another defeat.
“This is a situation that happened several times and I don’t know what to say.”
United’s squad was altered by heavy recruitment during the summer, much of it focused on European markets after the takeover by owner Andrea Radrizzani, and a quick start which took Leeds to the top of the table has petered out, raising doubts about the standard of Christiansen’s players.
The United boss reiterated his belief that his side were good enough to compete in the Championship but he refused to play down the importance of Saturday’s trip to Brentford, the final game before the next international break.
“We need the win on Saturday against Brentford,” he said. “That is sure. It cannot go on like this.
“But I try to do what I can and it’s difficult if you get situations which could have changed the direction of the game. I’m satisfied with the team. We need to continue and give it even more now.”
Asked how the referee had explained the penalty decisions, Christiansen said: “I didn’t go to him but some other things were said by the other coach (Derby boss Gary Rowett) in the tunnel and it looked like that had the right result.”