Leicester City vs Leeds United: Daniel Farke press conference and fitness update ahead of table-topping clash
Leicester City await Leeds this weekend, as United kick off the Championship’s schedule with an 8pm start in the East Midlands on Friday night. The Foxes have won 13 of their opening 14 league games this season and have been in daunting form lately, winning nine straight Championship games since defeat against Hull City in early September.
Leeds are on a good run of their own with four wins out of their last five but this weekend’s fixture will be the sternest test of their promotion credentials under Farke.
Updates on the fitness of Stuart Dallas, Djed Spence and Junior Firpo are expected this afternoon, while it is hoped Farke has good news on the likes of Crysencio Summerville who complained of some discomfort at half-time against Huddersfield Town last weekend, and Joe Rodon who was substituted during the second half after feeling something in his hamstring.
Daniel Farke press conference highlights
- Farke fitness update
- Boss previews Leicester meeting
- Manager reflects on Huddersfield demolition
Farke on ownership issues at Sheff Wed and importance of stability at Leeds
Always important you’re in the driving seat, no-one is bigger than the club, not even one star player. It’s always important you’re in control over the contracts, who stays, who will leave and this is quite crucial to stability. More or less everyone from top to bottom of the club you need the same values and philosophies. If you have this consistency, it’s easier to be successful. This is professional football, sometimes the wind is in your face, a new manager arrives or there are things going on in the background, you can’t choose, you don’t feel too sorry for yourself, you work step-by-step to achieve these things. We are not the finished product but we are still quite good, we can be happy and proud of ourselves, lots of work behind the scenes. Many areas we want and need to improve as a club but we are definitely on the right path.
Farke on whether fringe players will play in the 21s
Once we have a bit tricky schedule and we play all three days, we are careful to send too many players into the U21s. Mateo Joseph desperately needed game-time. We make a decision day-to-day. I think it’s important with those players likely to be involved in first-team games, to be a bit more careful with game-time in 21s. We have to make pragmatic decisions.
Farke on possession
Bravery, it’s also important you are brave enough to press opponents and not to be too impressed by them. It’s the same for them. It should help, we’re not playing with so much possession just to win that statistic, it has to benefit us. As long as you have the ball, the opponent can’t score, and you exhaust the opponent. No-one likes to play football to just shift around, you want to have the ball. It helps increase your chances to win the game. There will be on such a level also periods you find it difficult to press the opponent, to stay in possession and you have to be there with good well-structured defending. You need periods when you have to defend, in these games even more. There’s never a guarantee you will dominate the game like we did against our last opponent but I think one key is to be there with as much possession as possible in this game.
Farke on style and counter-attacks
Our approach will never be that we just park the bus and put the ball in the stand and try to be there with a 90-yard counter attack, or three times deflected strike, a bit lucky. We want to attack the games and be the protagonist wherever we go. Obviously it’s important to be good on the counter, because you have to good in all periods and phases. You have to expect they will have lots of possession and be rock solid in your structure. Think about the last game, we dominated this game, but we were capable to create chances from each and every possible situation in the game. We want to use more or less every tool. One of our strengths is to be there with quick counter-attacks. We were also quite strong when we won the ball in the opponent’s half. The short counter-attack, we want to use.
Farke on whether Friday is a ‘must-win'
No, not at all. It’s a great game, two big clubs, big tradition, two clubs who’ve played recently on Premier League level, with a really good start. We are also there with four wins in last five games, position three, good point tally, good goal difference. It’s a spotlight game, it’s a great game to be involved in, both teams want to win points. You don’t want games where it’s an easy win, you want these battles and everyone who likes the Championship is looking forward to this game. It’s far away from being a final.
Farke on Leicester
They deserve this point tally to be there in this position - it’s remarkable, you have to give them credit and applause. I think it’s a fantastic side, many reasons, many players who’ve played on Premier League level, lots of stability. There was the disappointment of relegation but quite quick they went back to work and kept key players together, good balance, lots of quality players, quality coach and yes, really well-run club. It leads into the picture where they are at the moment. We are full of respect, we know we have to be at our best with a top class performance to earn the right to win some points. We travel with respect but not in fear. We are Leeds United.
Farke on team closeness
Very important, even perhaps the players not always involved from the start. Willy is then willing to celebrate with the team. When we celebrate goals, the whole bench is buzzing. This says a lot about the feeling and the team spirit, about us as a group, as a team and not so much about individual success. This is the spirit we try to bring into this group. Long may it continue.
Farke on Summerville and Gnonto
I’m from a different generation, the guys like to dance around a bit. Our generation used to dance a bit more in the evening after the game. I’m a bit old-fashioned, I wouldn’t dance around but if you’re that capable and have those skills it’s allowed. They deliver such performances and put a shift in. The most important topic is you have the right moves in the football boots.
Farke on Glen Kamara
In general we have a really young squad, if you look at the average age in our starting line-up. He has played with a big club like Rangers, he’s a proven Finland international with more than 50 caps, he was involved in many battles on the pitch. It was difficult for him in the start because no proper pre-season and the second half of last season he was not really involved. He’s on a good path, there’s still more to come. Still time until he’s at 100 per cent, but [Huddersfield] was his most complex performance. He can dictate rhythm of the game, he still needs to sharpen up in a physical way due to lack of game time in recent months. Also physical endurance and stability, but he’s definitely on a good path, he’s a top lad, involved in each and every joke the guys have in the training ground.
Farke on injuries continued
Some players with concerns: Rodon, Summerville and Byram. They were just involved in parts of team training yesterday but were able to train today. If there is no reaction, all three are available. Bad news for Joe Gelhardt, he has a hand fracture, [sustained] in training. He will definitely miss a couple of weeks. If he needs surgery it will rule him out longer.