Why Leeds United boss Daniel Farke needed convincing as he gets set for 'bumpy' start

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Daniel Farke is 'grateful and humbled' to manage Leeds United but says it was the job of Paraag Marathe and Angus Kinnear to convince him they were all on the same page.

The German, who will be manager and not head coach of the Whites, signed a four-year deal on Tuesday afternoon at Elland Road and immediately set about the task of preparing for a Championship promotion bid.

Farke wanted to make his Thorp Arch arrival in the early evening after the players had finished their fitness work and left the training facility, so he could first meet and speak to the staff. He will address the squad for the first time as their new boss on Wednesday, which will also be their first day of football-specific training following Monday's medical testing and Tuesday's running.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although Leeds' incoming owners, 49ers Enterprises, set out to have a thorough, structured recruitment process, Farke stood out straight away to CEO Kinnear and current club vice chairman Marathe.

Daniel Farke is the new Leeds United manager (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)Daniel Farke is the new Leeds United manager (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Daniel Farke is the new Leeds United manager (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

And having impressed at the interview stage thanks to his confidence on not only their promotion chances but the task of establishing Leeds as a Premier League side in the mid-term, Farke's record of double promotion glory with Norwich helped him to clinch the job. But he says he wasn't attempting to sell himself to Leeds.

"I wasn't doing an advertisement for myself, it was more like the other way around," he said.

"They had to convince me to overtake this role. Obviously the club didn't have to attract me, I always had a soft spot for Leeds United more or less from the first game I can remember at Elland Road with Norwich. Quite often I was asked in Germany which atmosphere was the best in English football and everyone expects me then to speak about the big six or some great stadiums but I always mentioned Elland Road. It's pretty, pretty special. And for that no one has to convince me about the potential of the club and the size of the club and and what we achieve on the mid and the long term.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"For me it’s more important that I was 100 per cent convinced of the key people here because we have never met before, we never spoke that intensely and it was quite important for each of those conversations."

Farke told the interview panel that they knew the brand of football he will bring to Elland Road but he wanted to ensure they shared his vision on how success will be built.

"Obviously I brought my message on what I thought has to be done in order to create a really good situation to make this club successful again," he said.

"But the most important thing was that the key people had more or less the same ideas and the same vision and thoughts about what has to be done. Once I got this feeling and then it was more and more that I said: ‘Okay listen, this is really an unbelievably interesting project on the short term, obviously, because in football it's always about three points and the next term, but also the mid and long term.’ I'm pretty grateful and also quite humbled in such a moment that people share more or less the same views. I'm very happy to be here."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although Farke declined to speak about individual players in his first interview, conducted minutes after the details of his agreement were finalised and signed off, there is an urgency to the situation he walks into, not least with regards to squad building.

As he freely admits, the squad he will address tomorrow will not resemble the finished product once the transfer window closes. This week is expected to bring the departures of Brenden Aaronson, Robin Koch and Diego Llorente. Others could follow. AS Roma are keen on Rasmus Kristensen. Tyler Adams, although not yet fully fit, will surely attract offers. Rodrigo will have options.

There are decisions pending in which Farke will take involvement.

"We started a bit later than several other of our rivals but it was not so much our fault it's just a situation and I'm looking forward to work right now," he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We need to have some good decisions and some quick decisions, there needs to be several decisions that we make for the staff, obviously for this group of players. We need unity as quick as possible in order then to play a really good role and to lead this process.

"Nowadays it's not a one-man show anymore so we'll always be on one page and speak about each and every decision."

Walking into a post-relegation scenario is nothing new to Farke, who experienced the drop with Norwich and subsequently bounced back. He, along with the club's interim football advisor Nick Hammond, must pick the squad up and reshape it for a promotion charge. Farke has already had input, through his communications with Hammond.

"We've had some really good conversations and spoken intensively about the squad," he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Always after relegation there's, let's say. a little bit of a hangover for each and every club and many decisions have to be made. Obviously the group right now will not be the group at the end of August. So we need some good decisions with outgoings and incomings and Nick will play a pivotal role during this upcoming period. And it's important that we don't just start today with some talks, but we had also the chance in the recent days in order to speak quite intensively from all this. From now on we can make some decisions and yes, but so far, so good. And we have a good relationship so far and I'm quite confident that he will be a big help. The transfer window will end on the final day. So we'll be busy for two months, but I'm quite confident we'll have a good team in the end and I'm quite confident that we can play a significant role in the upcoming season."

At the same time as portraying confidence, Farke adds a note of realism. Leeds, thanks to a takeover that is yet to be ratified by the EFL, have held off on appointing him until pre-season has begun. The season begins in a month and the new man accepts that time is short. But he's not complaining. The fans, he believes, will help them overcome the challenge.

"We start a bit later because we have a shorter summer break, than at least all of the teams who have played in Championship level, we start a bit later than our rivals," he said.

“Obviously the head coach starts a bit later. It's challenging and demanding. But we don't complain about the situation. It's just important to speak quite open and transparent about it. Because it's a huge, huge task but we have also I think one special thing that this club also is really pretty unique.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We have great, unbelievable, and I think the best the supporter base in this whole league and I expect also a little bit of perhaps a bumpy start but within during this period, we need our support, our fans even more and we need even bigger unity and togetherness in this club than we ever had in order to keep this train going. This is what we want want to create as quick as possible, but for that we need great togetherness and the great unity."