HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen admits Leeds United’s next three games will provide a key test of his side’s promotion claims and an early indication of how his new-look Whites will fare in his first season in charge.
United remain top of the Championship on goal difference despite last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Millwall but today’s fifth-placed visitors Ipswich Town are just two points behind.
Leeds will then visit third-placed Cardiff City on Tuesday evening before ending a key week with next Sunday’s Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday, who are also among the key contenders for promotion to the Premier League.
United are still only eight games into the new season under their new boss, but Christiansen admits his players are approaching an early test of their promotion credentials over the next nine days.
The Dane has also reinforced his belief that the Elland Road club’s flying start to the campaign is no flash in the pan and believes there is much more of the same to come.
United bounced back from last Saturday’s loss at The Den in impressive fashion on Tuesday evening by progressing to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a dramatic success via a penalty shoot-out at Premier League hosts Burnley following a 2-2 draw after extra time.
Christiansen said: “I believe there are three very important games now - Ipswich, Cardiff and we have Sheffield Wednesday also.
“I believe that these three games will mark the season a bit and how it will go.
“It will be very tough because we have a lot of games in a few days and we have just come from 120 minutes in the cup.
“But I am comfortable and happy with the squad that I have and the new players who came in against Burnley have shown that they have the right to be a possibility in the squad.”
I am comfortable and happy with the squad that I have and the new players who came in against Burnley have shown that they have the right to be a possibility in the squad.Thomas Christiansen
Reflecting on the strong start to the season made by Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich side, Christiansen reasoned: “This is the same situation as us.
“Do we expect to stay up (there)? I believe so.
“And the same, I believe that Ipswich will manage.
“If they have done it until now, why shouldn’t they have the possibility to maintain?
“It’s a good team and a good coach and course the season is very long and anything can happen in the games.
“But I believe that with their coach and with the players they have in their squad, they will have possibilities to stay there.”