Leeds United assistant Rob Kelly said that the club would “move forward at our pace” this season as he stressed the need for “realism” in Uwe Rosler’s first year as head coach.
Kelly described Rosler’s aim for a top-10 finish as “not unambitious” and insisted he was confident that the club’s supporters would give the German time and patience in the job.
Rosler was forced into a defence of his tactics after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford, United’s sixth league game without defeat but a result which relied on a second-half goal from substitute Mirco Antenucci.
Antenucci is in firm contention to start against Ipswich Town tomorrow with Rosler likely to restore the Italian’s partnership with Chris Wood up front.
Leeds are one of only four unbeaten Championship teams, however, and Kelly - appointed as number two to Rosler in June - declared himself satisfied with the club’s form and progress.
Speaking today ahead of the meeting with Ipswich, Kelly said: “My experience since I’ve been here is that the supporters have been knowledgeable.They understand their club and where we are.
“It’s not unambitious to look for a top-half finish because top-half can be anywhere from 12th to one or two. But there is a realism that it’s a young squad here, a developing squad. It needs some stability and it just needs to grow.
“If you’d offered us an unbeaten start then everyone would have taken it. In this league you don’t know how that comes. You don’t know where your points will come from. There aren’t many leagues in Europe who’ve played the number of games we have so we’re more pleased with where we are. In the end we get judged on results and we understand that.”
United’s only victory of the season came away at Derby County before the international break but Kelly said Leeds were proving themselves to be “hard to beat” and “difficult to play against” in the early weeks of the term.
The point earned against Brentford on Saturday left the club in 12th place in the Championship, two points behind the top six.
The former West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End assistant said: “When you’re at Leeds United there’s always an expectation. When I’ve been here before with whatever club, it has something special about it. You understand that.
“But there’s a definite sense of realism around the place. Yes, we’re moving forward but we need to move forward at our pace.
“This is first-team football and it’s results driven but we can see something developing. That’s what we’re trying to do. You can’t look too far ahead or you’ll take your eye off the ball.
“That doesn’t mean you lose sight of the bigger picture but we’ve put the foundations in. We joined in June. It’s now the second week of September.
“We wouldn’t be too despondent if we were at the bottom. We wouldn’t be popping champagne corks if we were at the top of the Championship. We’re making good progress but we’re sensible with it.”