DARKO Milanic will give some of Leeds United’s players a chance to “relax” in the early part of this week as the club draw breath after a busy start to the Slovenian’s reign as head coach.
Milanic said the more prominent members of his squad would be allowed to rest at the beginning of the international break while fringe players at Thorp Arch continue to compete for his favour and attention.
The 46-year-old has a large senior squad, swollen by 15 summer signings and the belief of owner Massimo Cellino that Leeds will be hit with a transfer embargo in January and reliant on strength in depth, and numerous players are waiting for a prolonged opportunity.
Milanic admitted last week that striker Billy Sharp was “not happy” with his recent lack of involvement and Steve Morison is also attempting to strengthen his claim for inclusion after two short appearances as a substitute.
The former Millwall forward –one of the club’s highest earners – has been pushed to the fringes by the calf injury which forced him to miss the first month-and-a-half of the season.
He completed the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, his first outing under new head coach Milanic, with Souleymane Doukara and Mirco Antenucci preferred up front.
Morison, who has spent two difficult years in Leeds, said: “I got injured before the Millwall game, which was a blow, and I’ve been trying to work my way back into the frame.
“I got a few minutes against Huddersfield (last month) and it was frustrating not to get anything in the last two games. But that’s the manager’s prerogative.
“We haven’t got that many strikers and me and Sharpy haven’t been getting much time on the pitch. It would be nice to get more because I feel we’ve got a lot to offer.
“As a player, you need timing and you need to get up to speed. When you come on for 10 minutes, half of the time you’re trying to catch your breath. It’s tough to change a game.”
Milanic turned to Morison ahead of Brazilian playmaker Adryan after 80 minutes of Saturday’s derby, replacing Antenucci shortly after Giuseppe Bellusci brought Leeds level.
Sharp had been introduced from the bench earlier in the second half as Leeds pushed for an equaliser after falling behind to a sharp effort from Wednesday midfielder Chris Maguire.
Milanic, who has taken two points from his first three games as head coach at Elland Road, promised that players who impressed in training would “all have an opportunity to play”.
Morison said: “There is a bit of a language barrier and a bit of frustration creeps in because you want someone to speak to –to maybe go and knock on their door and ask ‘How can I be better to get in your team?’
“It’s difficult because he (Milanic) doesn’t understand what you’re saying to him and you don’t overly get what he is saying. Things are different abroad. Their man management is not as great as it is with British managers.
“But every manager is different. I’ve worked under loads and they’re all different. They all have their own ways and this is about us getting used to each other.”
United’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday was their third league game in eight days and the most impressive performance of Milanic’s short tenure to date.
Leeds do not play again until they travel to Rotherham United for another televised game on October 17. The club are 14th in the Championship table.
“After such a difficult period, the players spent a lot of energy in these games,” Milanic said.
“We have to relax a little bit now and then focus our work on the next game.
“At the beginning of this week the players who’ve been involved a lot will do a bit less. The players who haven’t will do a little bit more.”