This is Not the Time to Push That Leeds United Panic Button – by Rob Atkinson

Divine duo

Christiansen and Radrizzani of Leeds United

A little sober analysis of last night’s defeat at the hands of a rampant pack of Wolves will reveal that, after a bad start where we got properly mauled, things could have turned out oh so differently. The fact is that, in the wake of Gjanni Alioski‘s excellent finish to pull us back into the game at 2-1 down, Leeds United were on the up and up, exerting considerable pressure on a home team that were doing some post-interval creaking after a dominant first half. A second yellow meaning a red for Ronaldo Vieira changed all that, and Wolves were able to reassert their authority with two more goals, leaving the scoreline looking rather lop-sided. But the positives were there for United against an expensively assembled side that looks certain to dominate the division this campaign.

Some Leeds United fans, so overjoyed at sending Middlesbrough coach Garry Monk back up the A1 with nowt, have then failed to see beyond that 1-4 scoreline, leading to renewed calls for the revolving door on the Elland Road manager’s office to be greased up ready for an impending departure. Whites boss Thomas Christiansen will not be unaware of the calls in certain quarters for his replacement, but he has troubles of his own to contend with – a tendency to concede ridiculously harsh penalty kicks, and doubts over the future of a certain Herr Lasogga among them. Yet Christiansen’s poise and dignity are still the hallmarks of his brief stewardship at Elland Road; he remains defiant and determined. The facts back up the theory that he’s not had the best of luck with various factors beyond his control, and – given the comical frequency of managerial turnover during the previous regime – surely it is time for the club to stick to its guns and give its man the opportunity and resources to do the job for which he was hired.

A visit to arch-nemesis Barnsley on Saturday is hardly the kind of trip Christiansen would choose as he looks to bounce back from the Molineux mangling; the Tykes have in common with so many other Championship clubs an almighty chip on the shoulder where Leeds are concerned, and this tends to inspire them to hit heights they find unattainable on less Cup Final-ish occasions. So we can expect a fired-up opposition to be waiting for us at Oakwell, but that’s the name of the game for a club like Leeds, and it’s high time we learned to deal with it. Again, Christiansen will be aware of this syndrome, having fallen foul of it at Millwall not so long back.

For many, that was where the rot set in, though worrying signs had been visible against Birmingham City just four days earlier, despite a 2-0 success against the Blues. There are many who feel that, despite his respectable goal return, it’s been the introduction of Lasogga to the team and his presence around the squad that has made the difference between the early season Leeds that was carrying all before it, and the misfiring machine we’ve been watching more lately. There does seem to be some issue, and a few conflicting rumours, where Lasogga is concerned, and this is just one of the factors on Christiansen’s worry list right now. But the priority should be to give him every opportunity to get that list sorted.

Happily, owner Andrea Radrizzani currently seems inclined to take the path of least resistance, keeping faith in his man and, although his motives might be open to question, that has to be A Good Thing for the time being at least. Whether Radrizzani is motivated by a deep personal conviction that he has the right man, or whether he is trying to establish his Leeds United ownership credentials by being as obviously as possible Not Cellino, remains a moot point. Whatever the reason, Christiansen deserves the chance to turn the currently less than ideal situation around. The performance against Middlesbrough showed that his methods have some merit, and it may well be that another endorsement of his ability and leadership was on its way against Wolves – until Vieira’s dismissal signalled the end of United’s chances.

The buzz phrase at Leeds United, for the time being at least, must be “Keep the Faith”. Christiansen has much in place within his squad that has been both pleasing to the eye and effective at times this season. The aim must be to regain a position where the whole of the team performance is greater than the sum of its parts; lately that equation has been the wrong way around on too many occasions, but in the last two matches there have been definite signs of a return to form.

Keep Fighting, as they used to say in the old days. And keep behind the team. Now is not the time to push that panic button.

17 responses to “This is Not the Time to Push That Leeds United Panic Button – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Wow, there speaks the voice of reason in the midst of a trial by Twitter, where knee jerk appears to be the norm. You’re right, now is not the time to hit the panic button, or grease the revolving door. If we want the club to progress, as I’m sure the majority do, then TC must be given the time to implement the longer term plan … the same as Sir Gobshite from over the hill was given to bring back success to them, 4 years I seem to remember. Good job Twitter wasn’t around then

    From the game I saw, TC did not give away a stupid free kick which resulted in the first goal, nor did he receive a second yellow card which resulted in a sending off. This, and a few other things were way beyond his control, and one or two players should be taking a look at themselves and asking if they’ve been fair to their coach.


  2. Iam with you on this one rob, I havnt opened up any leeds related pages since last night’s defeat, simply because I knew they’d be full of “git rid” comments.
    For the first time in years, we have a young ambitious owner, whos employed a young ambitious manager, who I feel needs time to get to grips with the championship, he’s certainly a football man, and given time, I just know he’ll get leeds playing the kind of football that we’ve been crying out for for years. Never was a fan of monk, but TC has a certain likeableness that’s got me on his side, and iam glad I’ve got you for company.


  3. Philip of Spain.

    Funny Rob,just thinking we haven’t heard from you for a while.Bit of crawling from me but I read the game exactly as you did.Still only three point adrift from the play offs.The mystery deepens on the German.What would Mr.Revie have done with him?Answers on a postcard!


  4. Life is LUFC

    I too agree with all that is being said here.
    Some of the players are making very stupid errors not mistakes. Youth and not being settled do not come into it for me. They are in the first team and need to be very professional, gifting free kicks, penalties and the worst sin of all, the match by putting the team down to 10 mean must stop and right now.
    I feel TC is a better man than Monk, he never looked the speaker in the eye when being interviewed and I never trust a person who does that. TC cannot be held accountable for these very stupid errors he is not on the pitch. He is the one watching these men train and can see potential he just has to bring it out and get them to play correctly and professionally on the day. I say keep TC. Keep fighting with and for him not agin him.
    If I owned the club the first clause in all the contracts would be no result no pay. Give them a basic, a very basic pay packet and the rest is bonus depending on results and achieving targets. Start fining them for yellow and red cards. If I under performed at work I would loose my bonus and be expected to take up further training for my job, do it too often and your out of a job. A bit of performance related pay will get them focused, harsh but then this is real life.


  5. This is a very difficult one Rob & I can see Andreas determination to keep faith in TC as well as wanting to change the sacking culture. That said a run of 8 losses out of 11 matches would get most managers in most leagues the sack.
    I feel sorry for TC that the summer recruitment fell short of what we needed in key positions at GK, CB & CF but what really worries me is his slavish adherence to the 4-2-3-1 formation which leaves the back 4 very vulnerable against better teams. We need to have a plan B with a far more solid formation when required especially away from home to grind out some good old fashioned 0-0 draws.TC’s comments after the Wolves game claiming there is no gulf in class between the teams is however delusional and tells me he won’t vary his tactics going forwards.
    Despite Andreas commendable support there surely is no way TC can survive if we don’t win one of the next 2 games as this would see us slip into the bottom half and in my view do untold damage to team confidence & moral.


  6. Couldn’t agree more Rob. I think everyone is still judging TC on the fact that we were 1st for about 5 minutes( in hindsight who had we beaten?). If you had given me an option of being 3 points out of the playoffs going into December with a few wins over some of the top sides I would have taken it as a platform to improve with the opportunity of bringing in players in January to strengthen positions where required. Guess I’m just a glass half full person although not naïve enough to believe that this current squad can get promoted without a bit more investment.


  7. I’m losing patience now. We seem to have yet another one dimensional head coach who lacks a plan b and who also can’t learn from his mistakes. Perhaps the next few weeks could be an ideal time to make a change should things continue. A new coach would have the January window to sort out who needs to go and who needs to come in. I agree with some of the comments regarding kneejerk reactions and i for one am fed up to the back teeth of reading headlines like “Leeds fans tear into whoever” after every game. This happens even when we win and i don’t know if these habitual detractors are genuine Leeds fans or trolls but they’re incredibly boring. I was thinking today how in the past few years teams like Bournemouth,Brighton,Wolves,Huddersfield have all had a resurgence and passed us by while we tread water and it looks like we’ll be getting our feet wet for another season at least now. I like TC but I think his time is almost up and anything less than 3pts on Saturday should be the end.


  8. At last some sense of all this. Every day we have the usual blogs on the other garbage sites from so called experts who do nothing but tell us that the team is useless apart from one or two decent players. Too many foreigners, too many not up to championship quality, and one or two who should not even be on a football pitch. And YET these same fountains of footballing expertise demand the sacking of the coach. Not surprisingly, the same guys who have demanded the sacking of EVERY coach we have had. If TC was in charge of Wolves I would quite confidently predict they would be comfortably in the top two. So let’s sack him and get another coach with the same players and see what happens. No of course not. We need to sack him and bring in a new guy, give him the money and a free hand in recruitment of quality, proven, top notch British players. Talk about stabbing a man in the back
    No need to say anymore Rob, you said it all.


  9. I can take the rollercoaster ups and downs but the three things that grind my gates are we will learn from are mistakes we will bounce back and we have turned the corner well after 14 years its more like where stuck on roundabout this leeds team is a million miles away from the team i fell in love with to much hot air coming out of the coach and players for my liking style over substance as elvis once said a little less conversation a little more action


  10. David Smith

    Rob …as usual couldn’t agree more. Living down in the South West, I managed to see the game against Bristol City and if you need an example of a club on a limited budget, who stuck by their manager when in truth last season they could easily have sacked him, then it’s Bristol City. Whilst throwing money at a team doesn’t always work in achieving promotion, Wolves seem to be on course and just as we were at the start of the season, defence & strikers seem to be what are needed, although for the record I have a sneaking feeling that Ekuban, given time will prove a success! Also I suspect there is no way back for Antonsson?


    • I have that feeling about Ekuban as well, we’ll see how he gets on if Lasogga is out of favour. As for Antonsson – scoring goals for Blackburn, but there are doubts about his all round game, so I’ve heard.


  11. I only come reading Rob, when we play you, because we’ve been busy of late…..had some real cup finals lately… At Wembley. Proper ones, with Silverware. However, not all Barnsley fans hate Leeds. Some just think it’s another 3 points towards safety and don’t dwell.
    Our real Cup finals are agains Rotherham, Blades and Wednesday.
    I really thought you’d have stopped peddling the same old “We treat other local Clubs to a cup final” by now…. it’s just same old mantra and laughable.
    Apart from that I’m truly glad your club seems to be back on a decent keel after the last few years….. it’s not good for fans to have to put up with poor owners/stewardship …. Hope you have good ones now.
    I’ll take you up in second, behind us obviously.. to replace the dog botherers


    • It’s all good fun and nobody gets killed, unlike so many events around the world. Hoping for a good game tomorrow (and that we actually turn up). Give or take the actual order, I’ll echo your top two wishes!


  12. Good to see the dingles put in thier place Rob… I have a feeling this team could still be a top six side come May


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