Thomas Christiansen told Leeds United to prepare for a different Burton Albion side as he warned that today’s trip to the Pirelli Stadium would not produce a repeat of Burton’s 5-0 thrashing at Elland Road in September.
Leeds recorded their biggest league win in over a decade by routing Nigel Clough’s side in the second month of the season but Christiansen insisted the previous meeting between the clubs would be irrelevant this afternoon and insisted that Burton would “cause more problems”.
We cannot go there underestimating this team because they will for sure create more problems than other games we’ve had. We have to take it as seriously as we did in the first game.Thomas Christiansen
United are looking for a fourth straight victory from their Boxing Day fixture after taking advantage of favourable run of games in the run-up to Christmas.
A narrow 1-0 win over Hull City on Saturday followed on from victories over Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers, taking Leeds back into the Championship’s play-off positions for the first time in two months. The club are fifth with the season at the halfway stage.
Burton, in contrast, are in serious trouble near the foot of the division, with only two home wins on their record, but they edged out of the bottom three with a late and valuable 2-1 win at Reading over the weekend.
Clough’s players had no answer to United’s performance at Elland Road three months ago, with striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga scoring twice on his debut, but Christiansen said: “We have to go there with a lot of respect and forget about the first game we had against them.
“We cannot go there underestimating this team because they will for sure create more problems than other games we’ve had.
“We have to take it as seriously as we did in the first game.
“In that game we went 2-0 up quickly. The team were in a good run, we had confidence and played very well. But now we’re in a good situation with good results and I believe we’ll make another good game there.”
Hull and Norwich are trapped in the bottom half of the table but were both unfortunate to leave Elland Road with nothing and Christiansen said Saturday’s clash with Hull, in which a mistake by Tigers goalkeeper Allan McGregor allowed Pablo Hernandez to snatch a fortuitous win, had underlined the even nature of the division.
“Here there is no-one where you can say before the game starts that you are the favourites,” he said. “Everyone can complicate your existence on the pitch. Saturday was a situation like that. It was an example.”
Christiansen called his players in for training on Sunday morning and again on Christmas Day before travelling with them to Burton yesterday afternoon. “There is no stop,” he said.
United’s head coach was hopeful of having Samuel Saiz back in his squad today after a calf strain forced the Spaniard to miss the clash with Hull.
Hernandez replaced the consistently influential Saiz at number 10 and Leeds struggled to establish any rhythm against a competitive Hull side.
“Pablo was like the rest of the team in the first half,” Christiansen said. “We didn’t control the situation. But in the second half he was better and he scored one beautiful goal that gave us the three points.”