‘Stronger’ Leeds United gives Christiansen reasons to be cheerful

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HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen said he was in charge of a new stronger and improved Leeds United side after seeing his men survive a late scare to move seventh with a 3-1 win at Championship hosts Queens Park Rangers.

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Leeds appeared to be cruising to victory after a second-half brace from Kemar Roofe but the Whites allowed Rangers to set up a grandstand finale when a goalkeeping gaffe from Felix Wiedwald allowed Pawel Wszolek’s bouncing effort to creep over the line in the 90th minute.

Roofe, though, then completed his hat-trick in the fourth minute of injury time to ensure United bagged a third win from their last five games after an earlier run of six defeats in seven games.

United have now climbed to seventh - four points off the top six - and Christiansen said lessons had been learned both by the club’s recent frustrating run - and the opening day 3-0 loss at QPR under former head coach Garry Monk last year.

Christiansen said: “We’ve had five games now where we believe more, we are stronger and we defend better but it’s a result of the whole team. We defended well because it was difficult with the direct play. It was a tough test for the defensive line.

“It’s very important for the confidence to take a win away. Last year we played against QPR and lost 3-0 so we’ve learned a lesson and we’ve taken three very valuable points with us, We can keep on believing and working.

“I had belief in the team when we were in the top six and when we were out.

“We have had a bad run and this is a situation which will happen for all teams during the season but I believe that we’re almost out of it. We’ve had five games with good performances. Only one of them we didn’t take anything position from. I’m very pleased.

“We have to look at ourselves.

'STRONGER': Whites head coach Thomas Christiansen.

'STRONGER': Whites head coach Thomas Christiansen.

“The teams know about us and we know about the other teams in the league. We’re not the team to beat. We’re one of them. We have to focus on ourselves. If we do things right we will be up there.”

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I had belief in the team when we were in the top six and when we were out. We have had a bad run and this is a situation which will happen for all teams during the season but I believe that we’re almost out of it.

Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen.

Hailing the contribution made by hat-trick hero Roofe, Christiansen declared: “I was also a striker and if I scored three goals I would be delighted and waiting for the next game to come.”

The Dane, though, admitted that fellow striker Caleb Ekuban would now be facing another spell on the sidelines after limping off injured in the first half.

Ekuban has only recently returned to the fray with the forward out for three months after a breaking a bone in his foot during the 2-0 win at Sunderland in August.

Asked if Ekuban had suffered a similar injury at Loftus Road, Christiansen admitted: “I believe so. I’m not a doctor, I cannot say for sure, but it looks like it could be the same.”

Christiansen also refused to criticise ‘keeper Wiedwald for his goalkeeping gaffe.

Asked what he said to the German after the full time whistle, the head coach said: “Congratulations! What should I say? Thanks for saving two or three opportunities. Okay he made a mistake but it didn’t cost us the three points.

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