There were mixed views amongst Leeds fans on Thomas Christiansen’s first official press conference as Leeds United head coach, with the ex-APOEL manager keeping his cards close to his chest in relation to several matters that maybe the Whites faithful would have liked to have heard more on.
Despite the mixed reaction, there was a very positive response from a section of United fans:
Present to introduce the new Whites coach were part of the new hierarchy at Elland Road in Angus Kinnear and Victor Orta with the latter seeming to be in the know about the developments within the club. Both had only good things to say about the 44-year-old:
Kinnear: “I think he’s a winner. He wants to be here.”
Orta: “He is the right person at this moment for this club.”
Here are a few important points from yesterday’s presser:
Christiansen to have control over incomings and outgoings
The former Barcelona player will be relieved to learn that he will be given full control over transfers over the summer.
To many this would seem mandatory that a manager should be able to pick the players that he wants to bring in to fit his style and ethos. But when former owner Massimo Cellino appointed the relatively unknown Dave Hockaday as head coach during the summer of 2014, the majority of Leeds United’s signings came from the Italian leagues with Leeds’ owner appearing to be making signings himself rather than the man who would coach and train them.
This however, will not be the case during Christiansen’s reign at Elland Road as Director of Football Victor Orta proclaimed that transfers would not be made without the Dane’s approval:
“The Head Coach will always have the last word. It’s stupid if he doesn’t.”
APOEL players not on the agenda
It is safe to say that Leeds should be aiming for players from the best leagues despite links that Christiansen may want to bring in players from the Cypriot league.
But this was put to bed today after Christiansen confirmed that players who he has coached before won’t be following him to West Yorkshire.
“There’s no players from my previous teams that I want to bring here.”
This will come as a relief to the Whites supporters who will feel that established players with experience in Europe and especially the top end of English football, would be the most logical and useful signings.
Clotet leaving Leeds
Despite becoming a favourite with the Leeds fans, Pep Clotet will be leaving the club to pursue new challenges.
Several Leeds fans took a shine the Spaniard after he proved a successful assistant to previous Head Coach Garry Monk and when Monk surprisingly resigned, Clotet was touted to be a favourite to succeed his colleague.
However, Orta confirmed that Clotet, along with the rest of Monk’s coaching staff, will be leaving and are expected to join the former Swansea boss at Middlesbrough.
Assistant, goalkeeping and fitness coaches confirmed
Ivan Torres has been appointed as fitness coach and Victor Orta will have been heavily involved in bringing in Marcos Abad as goalkeeping coach whom he worked with during his time at Middlesbrough.
Wood’s future not set in stone
New Zealand international Chris Wood stated in midweek that he was ‘happy’ with the appointment of Christiansen despite anyone having any concrete knowledge of him.
However, when asked today if Leeds’ best performers are likely to stay at the club, Victor Orta seemed shaky when discussing Wood’s future with the Whites.
Wood was always likely to attract attention from the Premier League after finishing last season as the Championship’s top goalscorer.
When asked about Wood staying, Orta replied: “I hope so but nobody can say.”
All in all, not the most convincing or inspiring interview a Leeds United head coach has given in recent years but he seemed quietly confident and is looking forward to his time with the Whites: “It’s always been a dream for me, I’ve always followed English football, now I have this big opportunity,” said Christiansen.
The belief that Angus Kinnear and Victor Orta seemed to have in Christiansen based on their comments from the press conference prove that the Dane has shown something worthy of placing him in the Elland Road hot-seat.