Thomas Christiansen has played down the likelihood of Leeds United signing a new goalkeeper in the January transfer window by describing Felix Wiedwald as “one of the best in the league”.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Norwich City, Christiansen said he had “already passed the page” of Wiedwald’s error at Queens Park Rangers last weekend and insisted a lack of assurance in the goalkeeping position was not affecting his faith in either the German or second-choice Andy Lonergan.
Wiedwald started the Championship season as first choice but Lonergan, who joined Leeds for the second time in his career as a replacement for Rob Green in August, was promoted to the starting line-up after Wiedwald endured a bad afternoon in a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Lonergan’s run in the team lasted for just seven games before Wiedwald was recalled on the back of a 4-1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers last month. United are unbeaten in three games since Wiedwald regained his place but their 3-1 win at QPR was threatened in injury-time after the 27-year-old allowed a hopeful pass from Pawel Wszolek to bounce over his head.
Wiedwald redeemed himself with a crucial save seconds later as QPR threatened to level the match at 2-2 and Christiansen refused to criticise the blunder afterwards. United’s head coach is expected to keep faith with the former Werder Bremen keeper against Norwich at Elland Road Saturday and Christiansen appeared to dismiss the idea of Leeds using
the transfer market to improve that area of his team.
“I’m happy with what I have,” he said. “This is clear. Felix, when you see his numbers, is one of the best in the league with the clean sheets and the saves. All the things are positive so why not be happy?
“I’ve passed the page (of the error at QPR) already. He made one mistake but he also saved the team and two important points when the score was 2-1. I’m happy with that and I don’t look back at the bad things. I look for the good things he did, and the team.”
Wiedwald has recorded seven clean sheets since arriving from Werder Bremen for £500,000, the sixth highest tally in the Championship. Christiansen denied that the keeper’s confidence had suffered in the face of his more recent performances, saying: “I believe he has more confidence than before I took him out. This is good for him.
“Andy is still there too, training very well and making it difficult for me.”
Leeds repelled QPR’s attempted fightback with a strike from Kemar Roofe deep into added-time and the win at Loftus Road closed the gap between United and the Championship play-offs to four points. A victory over 16th-placed Norwich this afternoon could cut the margin to one.
The club’s ambition of a top-six finish took a serious knock amid a flood of seven defeats in nine games before last month’s international break but Christiansen said he always expected the results to turn and vowed that his side would not be sucked into such a damaging period again.
“I didn’t have any doubts,” he said. “I believed in the work and the confidence I had in the team.
“You always run into these situations with a bad run but it was very bad. That will, from my point of view, not happen any more: so many defeats, the way we lost the games. If we had taken two or three draws the situation would have been quite different.”