Pontus Jansson called for Leeds United to “play more football” after admitting an over-reliance on long balls contributed to Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town.
The Swedish centre-back endured a frustrating league debut at Elland Road but spoke out in defence of Garry Monk and vowed that United’s players would “win for the coach” during tomorrow’s high-pressure clash with Blackburn Rovers.
Jansson, who joined Leeds on loan from Torino as one of 11 summer signings, attempted to ease the strain on Monk by urging the club to “give him time” after a fourth loss in six games dropped United into the Championship’s relegation zone, two points and two places above bottom-of-the-table Blackburn.
Leeds turned in an improved defensive display against Huddersfield but were picked off by a vicious 20-yard strike from Aaron Mooy in the second half. A lack of creativity at the other end of the field limited United to two efforts on target.
Sweden international Jansson said: “We had a plan where we had to use longer balls at the beginning, in the first 20 minutes. But I think after that we have to play a little bit more than we did today. It’s a game with a lot of feelings. It’s a derby against a good team but we have to play a little bit more on the field and not only put in the long balls.
“When you lose you are always a little bit angry and sad but we were playing against a good team and defensively we played good. Offensively we have to work on a lot. I think 0-0 was a fair result.”
Monk, who is eight competitive games into his tenure as head coach, also bemoaned the scoreline at the end of a competitive but scrappy derby and Jansson defended the United boss afterwards, saying: “We have to give him time.
“We have a lot of good players and I think we can play more football than we do, especially at home. I understand that we have to put in longer balls in the beginning but then we have to start playing more. That’s not only to blame the coach. That’s all the players too.
“We have to show out on the pitch that we want the ball. This is not about the coach.”
Monk is the seventh head coach employed under current owner Massimo Cellino, majority shareholder at Leeds for less three years, and the 37-year-old’s first six league games have yielded only four points.
Jansson said: “Of course I know a little about the history (of Cellino sacking managers) but I trust in Monk a lot. It’s not about the coach. It’s also about the players.
“We have to take responsibility and it’s us that do the job on the pitch, not him. On Tuesday we are going to win for the coach. That’s the only focus we have now. We have to win on Tuesday against Blackburn and we can’t think in other direction.
“That’s the only thing we have to believe.”