Ronaldo Vieira praised Thomas Christiansen’s resilience and insisted he had never feared for his head coach’s job after Leeds United answered criticism of them with a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
United climbed to seventh in the Championship, behind sixth-placed Boro on goal difference, as strikes from Pablo Hernandez and Gjanni Alioski sealed a badly-needed win and held off a late Boro surge sparked by Britt Assombalonga’s penalty.
Leeds were under pressure to regain control of their season having taken six points from nine previous league games but Christiansen received the backing of the club’s managing director, Angus Kinnear, before yesterday’s clash at Elland Road and reasserted himself with a deserved win over Garry Monk’s Boro.
The recent form had called Christiansen’s performance into question but Leeds’ board and owner, Andrea Radrizzani, maintained their support of him throughout a bad run and his players responded by ending a run of three straight losses.
Vieira, United’s 19-year-old midfielder, said: “I’m pleased for him but I don’t really need to say anything because I know all the people like the chairman and the board have supported him. That’s why they picked him (as head coach) and I’m not really worried about him.
“I don’t think he’s worried either because they’ve had conversations and the chairman and the directors have got trust in him. Right now I think he’s a good man for the job.”
Leeds had dipped from the top of the Championship to 11th place during a prolonged loss of form but the club were heading back to the top six until Assombalonga’s disputed penalty kept Boro in the play-off positions on goal difference.
United lie in seventh and Vieira said: “Obviously we needed to work on a few things but it (the form) never really concerned us.
“We knew we had to get the momentum going again and win some games but we weren’t concerned.
“We lost seven games and we dropped to 11th but then we win one game and we’re back up there. That’s just the league and how it goes.
“The team enjoyed the game and not just because of the circumstances of whatever was behind the scenes. We knew we had to get the three points.”
Leeds had surrendered points to late concessions in prior losses to Sheffield United, Derby County and Brentford but Christiansen’s side held out as Boro threw players forward in search of an equaliser.
Vieira said: “We had a meeting before the game about fighting for each other and, no matter how the game goes, focusing on what you’re doing and managing it.
“At 2-0 we were managing the game and at 2-1 we were still managing the game properly. We managed to hang on.”
Leeds were without striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who was laid low with illness, while Stuart Dallas is being assessed ahead of Wednesday’s game at Wolverhampton Wanderers after an ankle knock suffered on international duty with Northern Ireland forced him to miss yesterday’s win. Monk, who quit Leeds two days after owner Andrea Radrizzani completed his takeover, played down the Leeds fans’ abuse.
“That wasn’t even my focus,” he said. “It wasn’t about me. It’s about my team and the players on the pitch and we’re disappointed with the result and should have got more.
“It’s not about me. What’s happened has happened. I’ve said my side, the club has said their side and that’s done and dusted.
“I’ve great memories of this club and enjoyed my season here, but now I’m at Middlesbrough and my only focus is on them.”
Monk, whose side came in to the game on the back of three successive league wins, felt they did not deserve to lose.
“There weren’t many clear-cut chances for either team,” he added. “But I think we definitely did enough to at least take a point away from this game.”