Leeds United v Middlesbrough: Christiansen backs foreign recruits to withstand Championship demands

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THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN has backed Samu Saiz and Gjanni Alioski to handle the rigors of a full first season in Championship football.

Saiz and Alioski have so far proved the most utilised of Leeds United’s summer recruits with Saiz in particular excelling since his switch from Huesca.

BACKING: For Gjanni Alioski, right, pictured with Kalvin Phillips.

BACKING: For Gjanni Alioski, right, pictured with Kalvin Phillips.

The 26-year-old has been United’s stand-out player with eight goals already netted from just 16 starts in the Championship and EFL Cup.

Alioski has also featured 17 times for Leeds, netting twice, and Whites head coach Chrsitiansen believes both will cope with the demands of a league which takes in 46 games plus the side attractions of the EFL and FA Cup.

“This is something that I have to deal with,” said Christiansen, asked if he felt Saiz and Alioski in particular could handle the demands of the Championship.

“But we should not forget that last year Samu played 42 games which is huge.

“Here we have 46 in the league and we have the cup as well but it’s a lot of games in Spain and he did that.

“That means it’s also Sunday, Wednesday or Saturday games in between.

“In his case, he can handle it.

“Ali, of course, he’s experienced and a national team player so he will also have games mid-weeks.

“But this is something I will handle.”