THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN insisted he held the full confidence of Andrea Radrizzani and predicted that Leeds United had “touched the bottom” of their slump ahead of a key game at Brentford.
Christiansen revealed that meetings with club owner Radrizzani and United’s director of football, Victor Orta, had reassured him of their support after a midweek defeat to Derby County left him facing up to a sixth loss in eight league games.
The club’s head coach looked under visible pressure at the end of a game which turned on two contentious penalty decisions and saw Leeds throw away a 1-0 lead in the last 18 minutes. Christiansen, however, indicated that his job was not under threat, saying he and Radrizzani “spoke about this being a project.”
Radrizzani took full control of Leeds in May and appointed Christiansen on a two-year deal in the aftermath of Garry Monk’s surprise resignation.
The Italian promised to implement a long-term strategy when he first bought a shareholding in United in January, saying he wanted to secure promotion to the Premier League within five years of his buy-out.
Christiansen takes charge of only his 16th league game this evening but Leeds have dropped from the top of the Championship to seventh in the past month and a half, accruing six points from a possible 24.
The 44-year-old expressed gratitude for Radrizzani’s backing, saying: “It means a lot in bad moments to have the support from the chairman and from Victor. It’s the same support I give my players.
“We’re all working with the belief that it’s going to change. Perhaps we have touched the bottom and now it’s going to go up again.
“I’ve had my talks with the chairman and Victor and we spoke about this being a project. It doesn’t have to be built up in a few weeks or months. We have time to work properly and it’s a project we all believe in. We’re all a part of it.”
Christiansen, though, stressed the need to rectify United’s bad run of form and admitted he would not retain Radrizzani’s faith indefinitely if the club’s results failed to improve.
We’re all working with the belief that it’s going to change. Perhaps we have touched the bottom and now it’s going to go up again.Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen
“I have the confidence of the chairman and Victor but if you tell me that we lose eight more games in a row, there is nothing they can do,” he said.
“They can believe so much in me but that situation would demand other things. But I’m confident and I believe in my work. We will come out of this situation.
“Results mark if you’re doing well or doing wrong but personally I am satisfied with the way things are running. I can never be satisfied with the bad results we’ve had.”
Christiansen reacted to Tuesday’s loss to Derby by labelling tonight’s televised clash at Griffin Park as a game in which Leeds “need the win” but at Friday afternoon’s press conference he played down talk of it being a must-win fixture.
“The players will be relaxed but with the intention to go for the win, to be motivated and enjoy playing,” Christiansen said. “These are the things they have to do.
“If I put pressure on them they will struggle and this is not the way because I don’t believe we have (performed) so bad. The results have been very bad but the worst thing I can do is put a gun on their heads and say ‘if you don’t win you will be out.’
“I’m only putting the pressure on myself. I’m more critical of myself than somebody else would be. But in the situation we’re in, which is negative with the results, I see a lot of positives. This is why I think there’ll be a turn soon.”