Thomas Christiansen's Leeds United side had a fantastic start to the season. Six wins and two draws in our first nine games saw us top of the Championship table and our new European attackers terrorising midfields across the Championship. Last season’s defensive Gary Monk football was a thing of the past, a new attacking and exciting brand of football was to be seen at Elland Road and most importantly we were winning.
But then came the dip, starting with losses to promotion rivals Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday, a run of six defeats in seven games. Form completely turned on its head we fell out of the play-off places and questions were being asked of the team. Compete in eSports tournaments in 2018 and match Leeds United's early season form. Had Chris Woods’s goals been replaced? Were our keepers good enough? What was out best team? Had Christiansen’s tactics been found out? Was Christiansen even good enough?
With some sections of the support calling for Christiansen to go Middlesbrough were visitors to Elland Road. The showdown between last year’s head coach Gary Monk and new man Thomas Christiansen. The defensive mind-set versus the attacking philosophy, who would triumph? Leeds were victorious and to rub salt into Monk’s wounds a player who is key to our philosophy, yet one Monk brought to the club himself, Pablo Hernandez scored the opening game.
For me that victory against Middlesbrough was vindication. Vindication that the new philosophy was the right way to go, that the new players were good enough and that Christiansen is the right man for the job. Forget the naysayers, there is something positive happening at this football club, we may not be quite there yet but we are moving in the right direction and exciting times are ahead.
Wolves was a bit of a reality check, but hey, they are flying at the moment and have stuck four past a few teams this year. Since then we put in a dominant performance against Barnsley, were unlucky only to take a point away from the Aston Villa game and gave a fantastic second half performance to beat QPR this week. Christiansen says he has seen a change in attitude of the team recently and is confident we are out of this bad run;
We’ve had five games now where we believe more, we are stronger and we defend better but it’s a result of the whole team. I had belief in the team when we were in the top six and when we were out.
We have had a bad run and this is a situation which will happen for all teams during the season but I believe that we’re almost out of it. We’ve had five games with good performances. Only one of them we didn’t take anything position from. I’m very pleased.
We have to look at ourselves. The teams know about us and we know about the other teams in the league. We’re not the team to beat. We’re one of them. We have to focus on ourselves. If we do things right we will be up there.
Back up to seventh place, only four points off Sheffield United and Villa we are back in the hunt for play-off places. This period from the Middlesbrough game through the festive period really could be the defining point of our season. Recovering from a bad run of form and getting back to winning ways is the sign of a good team. Let’s hope we can now push on, dip behind us and finish the season strongly.