There is an argument that Thomas Christiansen has done one of the best jobs in the Championship so far this season. A lot of other managers have been universally praised by the media this season for the jobs that they are doing. Nuno Espírito Santo at Wolves, Neil Warnock at Cardiff, Lee Johnson at Bristol City, Gary Rowett at Derby and Chris Wilder at Sheffield United to name some of the main targets.
All deserving in their own ways of course. But our own Thomas Christiansen rarely gets any, in fact since our fantastic start ended, if we are being honest, he has been mainly criticised by the fan base and ignored by the media. Time, money, experience and a solid base. Christiansen hasn’t had much of any of these at his disposal this season and done a good job despite this. Many will have put their football free bets on Christiansen to lose his job, people were calling for his head after a few months.
Though we have spent some money it has been subsidised by sales of other players and he gets little say on the players we bring in. That is the job of Victor Orta. He has never managed in a top league before, never mind England and the base of last season’s top seven squad was largely removed. Contrast that to the other candidates above...
Neil Warnock - Over a year in charge, this is his 3rd transfer window, not spent much money in fairness, but he is the most experienced coach in the league and is effective. He has had time to build a squad in his image, and has done a good job.
Lee Johnson - Spent good money, over £10 million without taking loan fees into account. This is his 4th transfer window and he benefits from a loyal owner when [ur=http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42580152]many would have sacked him last season[/url]. Has had decent backing and crucially time. Plus a father who is a bit of a legend at BCFC. And despite his tender years has managed over 200 games in England already.
Chris Wilder - Fantastic job on a shoestring, he deserves so much credit. Best of the list in my opinion but he has had time and momentum from last season and that’s a huge thing. Wins breed confidence. Experience wise only Warnock has more, close to 800 games. On his 4th window, so not much cash, however vastly experienced and time to build a side.
Gary Rowett - Nearly 300 games managed, similar to Johnson, more experience than his age suggests. Done a great job, one of the closest to Christiansen in terms of time. Only got the job in March, but still had those games till the end of season to assess the squad and identify targets. Lost key players; Ince and Hughes, but the squad was still strong before replacing them.
Nuno Espírito Santo - Ha done a great job, nobody can deny that, but he has been in a fortunate situation. Mendes and Fosun provided him with players who wouldn't have gone near Wolves otherwise. A squad including £30 million worth of talent in Costa and Neves. Plus Jota and Boly being told to join on loan (Allegedly Boly wasnt keen). Closest in terms of time and England experience to Christiansen, but has Valencia and Porto on his CV. Over 200 games managed, roughly half of those in the top flights of Spain and Portugal.
And now we come to Thomas Christiansen…
Never managed or played in England and the least experienced manager overall. Less than 200 games managed, had never managed outside of Cyprus before joining us. Good money was spent, but it was after the sale or in one way or another loss of the top scorer, captain and key defender. One of the best left backs in the league and the Number 1 goalkeeper. Add to that the departure of Doukara, who played a decent role last season and Bridcutt who was a captain and key figure in last season’s side.
A squad arguably four key members down on last season. Most Leeds fans agree that in the cases of Bartley, Wood and Taylor, we didn’t replace them with players of equal quality. So he is down key players, has had limited funds, has never managed in the country before, is encouraged to play a continental style, which takes time in itself to get right. And he has to do that while trying to build a togetherness amongst a much changed squad.
Christiansen and Santo didn’t have the luxury of time to assess the squads properly having only arrived in the summer. Christiansen didn’t have the quality of squad to start with that Santo, Rowett, Bruce et al had. He hasn’t got the hundreds of English football games worth of managerial experience that Warnock and Wilder have to call on. He is managing one of the biggest clubs in the country, with that comes huge expectations and consequently immense pressure.
Despite all of that we are seventh in the Championship. Above some of the bigger spenders, above more experienced coaches, above better squads and above those who have had more time to build. Thomas Christiansen deserves MORE credit than he is getting.