THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN praised Leeds United’s professionalism after the club quelled a fightback from Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw at Elland Road last night.
Leeds were held to a stalemate for only the third time this season as Henri Lansbury’s 72nd-minute goal cancelled out a Pontus Jansson header but Christiansen was pleased to see his players claim a point from a game which Villa threatened to win late on.
Lansbury’s 20-yard finish came during a period of mounting Villa dominance as Steve Bruce’s side recovered from a first half which Leeds controlled but the Birmingham club were unable to force a fourth straight win.
United found points difficult to come by during a recent run of seven defeats from nine matches and despite a noticeable drop in intensity after half-time, Christiansen credited his team for sealing a result.
“I told the players I was satisfied with their performance and their effort,” Christiansen said.
“I also said it was cleverness to understand that when you can’t win a game, or when it’s difficult to win a game, you don’t lose it.
“This is the difference between the team from a month ago and the team we have now.
It was cleverness to understand that when you can’t win a game, or when it’s difficult to win a game, you don’t lose it. This is the difference between the team from a month ago and the team we have now.Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen
“Of course we would have been satisfied with three points, especially after the perfect first half against one of the strongest teams in this league. Aston Villa equalised but we had chances. I’m very pleased. It’s a good step for us to continue with.”
Jansson drew first blood with a 20th minute header from Pablo Hernandez’s corner but Hernandez was lost to a hamstring strain shortly before half-time, a blow which Christiansen saw as significant.
“He’s very important with the ball and without the ball,” said United’s head coach, who played down fears of a long-lay-off for Hernandez by insisting the Spaniard could feature away at Queens Park Rangers next weekend.
“He’s intelligent and he was a loss for us in the second half.
“I believe (the swing in momentum) was a little bit because of their quality but also about us needing to keep the ball. That’s what we missed but I cannot complain.”
Leeds moved up to seventh in the Championship at full-time, two points behind sixth-placed Derby County. Villa remain in fourth position.
United’s last four matches have yielded seven points and Christiansen said: “We’ve had Middlesbrough, Wolverhampton and Aston Villa, three teams who want to be promoted direct. I’m very satisfied with how the players have taken on these games.”
Villa boss Steve Bruce was also content, saying: “Everybody knows how hard it is in the Championship. I thought both teams were decent and in a good position to threaten at the top end of the league.”