HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen has called on Leeds United to tighten up at the back as Pontus Jansson eyes a possible return for the Whites in tonight’s top-of-the-table clash at Championship hosts Cardiff City.
Jansson failed to even make the bench for Saturday’s 3-2 win at home to Ipswich Town despite being reported fit by Christiansen after the Swede picked up a “minor muscle” injury and suspected hamstring problem in the previous weekend’s 1-0 loss at Millwall.
Captain Liam Cooper, returning from his own back injury, instead replaced Jansson and partnered Conor Shaughnessy at centre-back but United leaked two goals in a league game for the first time since the opening day of the season. Jansson, though, was only left out of the side as a precaution and Christiansen has confirmed that injured striker Caleb Ekuban remains his only absentee for the trip to Cardiff.
United’s head coach also has another centre-back option back available with Matthew Pennington having recovered from an ankle injury suffered in the opening weekend win at Bolton. Pennington was an unused substitute for Saturday’s triumph over Ipswich in which United eventually outscored their visitors.
Whoever is given the nod to start at third-placed Cardiff, Christiansen admits his men’s defending will need to improve from what was shown on Saturday afternoon. Christiansen’s side had previously kept six league clean sheets in succession before the previous weekend’s loss at Millwall.
“We have to defend better,” admitted Christiansen, analysing the Ipswich display in readiness for Cardiff. “The first goal came from one set piece and we have to defend that much better, that is sure. But probably we have also got people to use to get a clean sheet. The clean sheets are a statistic that are good to have. But the most important thing is to take the three points.”
Explaining why Jansson missed Saturday’s clash, Christiansen said: “It was because he had a muscle problem and I didn’t want to risk. He was able to be in the squad but my decision was to leave him out.”
Clean sheets are a statistic that are good to have. But the most important thing is to take the three points.Leeds’ head coach, Thomas Christiansen