Leeds United: Thomas Christiansen revels in ‘dream’ start

Kalvin Phillips celebrates his second goal.
Kalvin Phillips celebrates his second goal.
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Thomas Christiansen revelled in his side’s attacking flair after Leeds United earned his first win as head coach by outgunning Bolton Wanderers.

Kalvin Phillips struck twice in the first half to give Christiansen a satisfying start to his reign as Leeds boss with a 3-2 victory at the Macron Stadium.

Liam Cooper.

Liam Cooper.

Phillips, who signed a new deal with Leeds last week and had only scored twice previously for United, found the net either side of a Chris Wood header to see off newly-promoted Bolton and settle their opening game of the season.

Leeds were forced to ride injuries to Matthew Pennington and Gaetano Berardi and a fightback from Bolton in the second half but Pablo Hernandez was denied by the crossbar amid a spate of chances as United’s threat going forward paid off.

Bolton replied through a Gary Madine header before half-time and an Adam Le Fondre penalty shortly after the hour but were unable to force an equaliser late on.

“We played the football that we wanted to, knowing how Bolton play,” said Christiansen, who arrived as head coach in June after three years as a manager in Cyprus.

“It was good and we created good opportunities, controlling the situation of the game.

“I want us to create and score but I don’t like to see us to (concede) the goals we did.

“But the opponent had good things about them too and one of them was their strength. They had very tall players and we are not the tallest but my players were strong and when you give everything, at least you can equalise that.

“It was the game I expected – a tough game against a good opponent – and it was a result that I had dreamed of; taking the three points.

“The heart rate went up a little bit!”

Phillips extended his contract to 2021 on Friday and was chosen alongside Eunan O’Kane in the centre of midfield after Christiansen opted to leave Liam Bridcutt out of his squad.

The youngster finished off a training ground move on seven minutes and struck again in the 43rd after Bolton were caught out by Pablo Hernandez’s defence-splitting pass.

“I couldn’t think of anything better to start the season off,” Phillips said. “Obviously every game I go into I dream of something like that. I’m just glad that it fell to me at the right time.

“I only scored one last season so I thought I need to get more goals. After two today I’m pretty chilled and there should be more coming.”