Daniel Farke every word on Leeds United win at Leicester City, rare booking, apology and Big Sam
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Here is every word that United’s manager had to say at his post-match press conference on the Whites win, his own yellow card, an apology, the title race, an injury update and the best player in his position in the league.
Congratulations on the win. How much of a brave performance was that from your side tonight?
Yes, you mentioned I think to be brave, to play football with courage and to go for it with confidence was the key today. Because, Leicester’s such a good footballing side, possession side, they have so far one of the best starts in history of the Championship, unbeaten in months, terrific performances, so when you want to get something in such a game you have to be brave. You have to make sure that you have periods in the game where you bring the game to their half, press them really high with bravery, then you’re good in possession also, with your possession obviously you can’t have the spirit over 90 minutes, also periods when you have to be structured and allow them possession in areas where they can’t hurt you. Don’t open any spaces where they can create chances and I think this was so complicated today, to bring such a complex performance on the pitch, on the one end to be brave and high press, to be good with the ball, to dominate many periods of possession but when they are in possession they are so good with the ball, to stay disciplined and well structured to make sure they have the possession more or less in their own half in the build up, where they can’t hurt you. This was the key today and for that I have to praise my lads for this complex performance. Keeping a clean sheet was clean fantastic.
But are you surprised how many chances you created tonight?
Not surprised. Just happy. Because, you never know that it works in this way, I know what we’re capable of and I believe in my players and was confident we can also dominate a game like we did. Especially in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game, and in the second half was a bit concerned we didn’t reward ourselves for such a good period in the beginning. This can be decisive when you play a game on such a level. But, we kept going and also then were good in the moments when we had to stay structured and disciplined. We had to sit a bit deeper, but especially in the second half, you could see the goal coming because we brought ourselves in so many good situations. I think in total it was a really good game and also I liked a lot Leicester’s performance in possession as well. But, in the end, I think it was a very deserved win. We definitely had the better and clearer chances although in each and every half they also had one big chance.
How big of a moment is that for Georgi?
I am delighted for him because he is working so hard for us. He’s great in his linking of the play and creating moments for teammates, with assists and the only thing we spoke about that he can improve is his goal tally. He scores today and this right now is also like a typical strikers goal to be there for the rebound, I am pretty delighted for him. It’s crucial to be there with a decisive goal, sometimes it is easy to score the 6-1 or 7-1, but to be there with the 1-0 is decisive goal and a sign of quality. Yes, I am delighted for him and he’s definitely on the right path.
Does the moment at the end with the fans show how far you have brought the squad?
Yes, if you want to achieve something special you need unity and togetherness and a special atmosphere. We are trying to create this from the first day since we started to work here. The players totally buy into it and it’s a joy to work with them and sometimes also complicated, you have to make sure spirits are high and every player wants to play, but how much they dig in also for the teammates, this is crucial. The feeling and unity and bond that grows stronger with our supporters, they were amazing again tonight and one of the key reasons we were so successful in recent weeks and especially today. I am pretty happy that my players have a good sense. When I think about how many balls Ilia Gruev won in the last minute, how our wingers came into the game to dig in and trying to help our fullbacks, and Patrick Bamford tried to win each and every header. So, it’s work for the team and to think about the side and success for us as a team, my leaders in the team were not that much involved, like what Liam Cooper is doing at the moment, although he’s not that many minutes on the pitch, he’s second to none. Luke Ayling, again, pretty happy with my group of lads, but we have to keep going with this feeling. It is not like the season is over and I can already dance on the table and sing the high praise, but at the moment we are definitely on the right path.
The Championship itself, not saying this blows it wide open, but it keeps it a bit more interesting for everyone else, more so than a Leicester win would have done tonight, doesn’t it?
Maybe, but really for us, the table is not important at the moment. It’s not important where you are after 15 or 20 games, but the only thing that matters is after 46 games. Whatever the outcome of this game would be today, I said this also before, everything is still possible for both sides in both directions. It’s massive three points for us, a confidence boost and good for the table, great three points, great there is another clean sheet, but overall Leicester is such a good side and I am quite sure that at the end of the season they will play and stay and be in a top position. But, it[s definitely a good sign for us yes.
Did you have to make a late change to the team or did you intend Archie to start? Was it a late call with Jamie’s injury?
Archie has played many minutes and it is not a surprise he starts a game. Obviously Shackleton would have been an option because he was excellent last game, but after it was clear he couldn’t play today or be involved, due to some glute problems that he reported after the last training, it was a more or less clear for me that Archie would play his part again. He was also today a fullback who stayed a bit deeper and concentrated on defending, who shifts also a bit into midfield in possession. Also, right now, Archie is strong and quick enough also to defend a really terrific winger. It’s not that easy for a 17-year-old boy in such an away game, to defend this quality but overall I would say he was rock solid. Yes, one or two situations, it is quite normal that it’s a bit shaky but each and every fullback would have struggled, but it's a really good performance from Archie and he can be proud.
How important was it to look after the ball in the way Glen Kamara did in the first half?
It was in general quite important that we have many periods where we dominate the ball and scare them. We also like to break their confidence and could recover at times in possession, because their style is also that they want to tire the opponent a little bit with endless passes and want to exhaust you mentally. This is what you have to accept, but then, also the moments when you have the ball not to go always for a counter attack and lose the ball straight away. Its important you keep the ball and apart from one scene or one pass, the first half I think Glen was excellent and for me it was his best performance in a White shirt, since we signed him and I think he was one of the key players, not in all periods because Leicester was good in possession, but in several periods we were able to keep it well and create really good situations.
Sam Byram came up against a flying winger, the first half was difficult, second half looked like he dug in and improve, how were you with that situation?
Releived if I am honest because he had to play 60 or 70 minutes on a yellow card. Then, when you know you can’t be there with a tactical foul, you have to be careful in the duals. Then to come away and to dominate more or less from minute to minute, even more I am pretty pleased for Sam, but also have to praise my wingers today on how much they worked to support the fullbacks. It’s one of the keys if you play against Leicester, that your offensive players are doing a really good job and overall, yes our defensive behaviour was pleasing. Yes, with Sam in total as well.
At half-time, what did the referee say to you, were you frustrated with the officiating tonight?
Yes, today I have probably to accept that it’s the second yellow card in over 200 games in English football, it’s a bit disappointing I got this yellow card because for me it was definitely a foul. I think the question was a bit, is it a penalty or is it outside, then it’s a free-kick and a red card. He didn’t whistle anything and for me it was a decisive moment, because if you play in overload or go in the lead with a penalty, it would have changed the game and it is decisive on this level. Then I am a bit emotional and ask why, I think it’s understandable, the fourth official said I waved my arms with this. Normally I thought the fourth official is there to explain why he didn’t give a penalty and calm the emotions down, yeah, he was today highly motivated to report to the referee two minutes later because everything has calmed down then and I won’t take any attention anymore that I waved my arms. The referee had to stick to the rules and gave me a yellow card, I probably have to apologise that I waved my arms but I am just a human being and it is my second yellow card in over 200 games, so today I have to accept it.
Are matches like that the reason why you wanted to come back to the Championship?
I would not deny if one day it was Leeds United was back in the big time in the Premier League if I am honest. I wouldn’t say no, no, we don’t take the promotion, I want to stay in the Championship because this league is so interesting. If I am honest what attracted me was Leeds United and how big this club is, and it was a difficult situation, and this project was so difficult, many people have spoken about how this situation was in the summer. Big Sam has made a few comments what a hell of a task it is to bring solidity back in and this has attracted me. Again, it’s far away from being a finished product to be proud of ourselves, after just a few games in this league at least we are on the right path and I am happy I can also repay a bit of trust back. We have to keep going, the season isn’t over after a win, we have to keep going to achieve what we want to achieve.
A fantastic save from Illan at the end, in a toss-up between him and Karl Darlow, why did you decide to go for Illan, what was it about him?
His potential without any doubt. He can be any goalkeeper at one point, he’s still unbelievably young. He had a difficult spell at times last season, especially for a young goalkeeper, but then it is important to play with confidence. For the way we want to play, I know he has the skills to play out from the back and also needs to build a bit confidence with us, but his potential is outstanding and never in doubt. My feeling is that he just needs rhythm and confidence and this is what he gains. He is also crucial for six clean sheets, a really good defensive behaviour, also for our build up. It’s not a decision against Karl who is an outstanding character and also a proven goalkeeper on this level, I am so happy to have both of them, but the potential of Illan is just massive. When you have a diamond like him you have to back him, especially when a young player can’t play without mistakes is quite normal, but especially a goalkeeper needs backing. If he produces a performance like this we are on the right path. He’s still not completely playing without a mistake, the last home game was probably not his best one, but if I judge his games so far I think he is excellent and the best goalkeeper in the league.