Leeds United appoint set-piece specialist to the backroom team

Gianni Vio
Gianni Vio
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Leeds United have added former AC Milan coach and free-kick specialist Gianni Vio to Thomas Christiansen’s backroom staff.

Vio has linked up with Leeds a third of the way into the Championship season and was on the bench for United’s 2-1 defeat to Derby County at Elland Road on Tuesday.

Thomas Christiansen

Thomas Christiansen

The Italian built his reputation as an expert with set-piece routines during spells with Fiorentina, Milan and Brentford.

He was credited with improving Brentford’s strike-rate from dead-ball situations following his arrival in England from Milan in the summer of 2015.

Leeds have scored three of their 23 league goals from set-pieces this season and Vio will focus on that area as the club attempt to put a halt to a damaging run of league defeats.

Christiansen said Vio had been recommended by the club, rather than identified by him specifically, but United’s head coach described Vio as “one of the best in the world” and said he was “more than happy” with the extra addition to his team.

“He’s a specialist and he’s one of the best in the world,” Christiansen said. “His CV and all the numbers tell good things about him, what he has achieved in many clubs. One of them is Fiorentina where he did a fantastic job. He has many interesting ideas.

“The club told me there was a possibility (or recruiting Vio) and of course I want to have the best with me. I’m more than happy with that.”

Vio joins a backroom team which features Christiansen, assistants Julio Banuelos and Paul Butler, fitness coach Ivan Torres and goalkeeping coach Marcos Abad.

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