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I’d have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for that pesky Saiz
Wednesday, 21st Feb 2018 18:48 by Tim Whelan

Thomas Christiansen has blamed his sacking by Leeds on Samu Saiz’s six game ban, along with raised expectations after our good start to the season.

Shortly after sacking Thomas Christiansen, Andrea Radrizzani apologised to the fans for appointing him in the first place, and told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the ex-head coach had failed ‘“in terms of communication, leadership and confidence”. He also said that he was close to sacking him straight after the Newport game, but was talked out of it by Victor Orta.

All of which was a bit rude, but Christiansen has only just replied, saying that contractual issues have limited what he can say in response. Which presumably means he was forced to sign some sort of gagging clause while receiving compensation for the cancellation of his contract. But he has given an interview with an outlet called BT, back in his native Denmark.

He has put much of the blame for his sacking on Saiz’s six match ban for spitting, as well as the other suspensions we suffered, although you could say that it’s the head coach’s responsibility to ensure his team plays with a bit of discipline.

“Saiz was our most important player in the offensive part of the game and we couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Suspensions and injuries piled up. The squad just wasn’t big enough for us to replace those players.”

He also thinks that going top of the table in September sent expectations sky high, and our form couldn’t realistically be sustained. 'It’s a big club with dreams of moving back to the Premier League, where they believe they belong. Every single season, both the club and its fans believe that now they’re ready. The fans said the team had not played so well for over a decade. “

We went top with a win over Birmingham on September 12, but in hindsight that flattered us, and the good start owed much to an easy run of fixtures. That was after seven games, but that included matches against all of the bottom four at the time. In particular the win at Sunderland looked like a great result at the time, but we didn’t know that they were going to have such a rubbish season.

The next game at Millwall was the first of several when we would struggle against some of the more physical sides in the championship. And although we have played well in patches since then, form tailed off as other managers worked out how to combat his tactics, and he never seemed to have a ‘plan B’ in the games when things weren’t going well.

And much as Christiansen blames the run of indiscipline from certain players and the consequent run of suspensions, the two games before Newport were the disappointing defeat at Birmingham and draw at home to Forest. He might have guided us to the play-offs with more good fortune, but it would have been touch and go.

Christiansen also said “I would like to say so much that the club must be more patient. The current trainer, Paul Heckingbottom, is the eighth since 2014, and I don’t know if he’s there next season. When I got fired, we were seven points from the playoffs, and that’s not really bad. Leeds has – as far as I know – the 12th largest budget in the Championship.”

And while money isn’t everything, it’s not as easy for the club to go up as some think.” His comments have got me thinking who the 11 clubs are with greater resources. Obviously Wolves, with the huge backing from their new owners, and probably all the ones still receiving ‘parachute payments’ due to recent spells in the Premier League, but who else?

Christiansen also thanks the Leeds fans for our support during his time in charge "You are the most precious treasure of this wonderful football club. Managers, players, directors and presidents may change, but you are the ones who remain, together and united. Your passion and requirement for success just symbolises your strength. Thank you for all your support."

And looking to the future, he is promising to bounce back. “Leeds was a learning experience for me and it was a good time. In Spain they say to be a good coach, first you have to have been fired. And this was the first time I was fired. Now I want to be a little free, get some rest and come back well. I don’t know where it will be, but it will only be from next season.”

He is certainly a thoroughly decent man and although things didn’t work out for him at Elland Road, we wish him the best in his future career


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