Thomas Christiansen has ordered his players to ignore Leicester City’s poor form and forget the idea that the Premier League club might be there for the taking when Leeds United bid to reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals tomorrow.
Leeds will be hosted by the former Premier League champions a week after Leicester reacted to a weak start to the season by sacking manager Craig Shakespeare.
City are under the caretaker control of assistant and former Oxford United boss Michael Appleton but a 2-1 win at Swansea City in Appleton’s first game in charge on Saturday lifted the club out of the top flight’s relegation places.
Leicester have yet to decide on a permanent replacement for Shakespeare, who only replaced title winner Claudio Ranieri on a full-time basis in June, but United head coach Christiansen warned that this evening could be “the most dangerous time” to face a club who have experienced their share of turmoil since dramatically winning the Premier League in 2016.
Leeds are attempting to scalp a top-flight side for the second time in the Carabao Cup having reached the last 16 by beating Burnley on penalties in the third round.
“Leicester had a good win this weekend, a win that can give them confidence back,” Christiansen said.
“You never know when’s a good time (to play another club). When a team are hurt and they’re suffering down the table, that’s probably when it’s most dangerous to face them. You never know when is the right moment.
“We faced Burnley when they were seventh in the league, playing well and getting important points and we managed to qualify for the next round. Anything can happen.”
Leeds are looking for a second quarter-final appearance in two years having made the last eight of the League Cup under Garry Monk last season. United eventually suffered a narrow defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield.
Asked about the lure of moving closer to the latter stages and a possible future appearance at Wembley, Christiansen said: “Those are big words but I will try to win all of our games and I’ll try to pass as many rounds as possible – trying to do it in the best way for the team.
“We also have to face the reality that we’ve faced one Premier League team, we’re going to face another one and, if we have the luck to pass to the next round, we’ll face another, perhaps a very strong Premier League team.
“We just have to enjoy the moment and the game in front of us.”
Christiansen’s squad stabilised their own league form after three successive defeats with an impressive 3-0 win at Bristol City on Saturday, the first of three matches in seven days.
United, who are fourth in the Championship, contest a Yorkshire derby against third-placed Sheffield United on Friday but Christiansen denied that he would prioritise that fixture over the trip to Leicester, saying: “Both are important. More than looking at both games, I will look at the players I have.”
The Leeds boss, however, was pleased with a result at Ashton Gate which repaired damaged confidence at Elland Road following a sudden drop in the from which took the club to the top of the Championship last month.
“We don’t lose (confidence) so fast and we don’t get it back so fast,” Christiansen said, “but it’s the beginning of us recovering that confidence. It comes when the players see they do things right but I see and I believe that all the players are giving their best.”