It can`t come as any surprise to us Leeds United fans that we are in the midst of yet another managerial change. I won`t need to tell you (and now I will go on to tell you anyway!) that this is now our seventh manager in only four years, and the dismissal of Thomas Christiansen after only eight months in charge at Elland Road is a sign of our continual struggle to compete.
It seems so long ago now, but we enjoyed a fine season last term under the guidance of Garry Monk, who was then lost to Middlesbrough. So it has to be said (doesn`t it?) that Christiansen inherited a side with plenty of potential.
Unfortunately, he fell short in the end and was relieved of his duties following a 4-1 defeat at home to Cardiff City on Saturday. That loss extended Leeds` winless run to seven matches, with victory last tasted by Leeds on Boxing Day.
Signs of struggles have been present for a while and these three reasons are key to exactly why it went wrong for Christiansen at Elland Road.
Following on from Monk
As I`ve said above, after many difficult times for Leeds United, season in – season out, we started to get some believe and saw positive signs with Garry Monk`s side last season as we narrowly finished outside the play-off spots. I can`t have been alone in thinking that better fortunes could be around the corner, especially after Andrea Radrizzani saved the club from the disastrous spell of Massimo Cellino?
Cellino became renowned for his ruthless streak with managers, showing no signs of loyalty and regularly pulling the trigger, and Radrizzani was keen to shown he`s different- continuing to have faith in Christiansen despite a spell of seven defeats in nine games in October and November.
However, it was clear from the start that Christiansen had a monumental task on his hands taking over from a side that maybe overachieved last season? He took over a team with plenty of expectations but perhaps not the quality that is required to finish in the top-six just yet.
Following on from Monk proved to be a poisoned chalice and perhaps this was a huge part of his downfall.
No Plan B
In football you have to accept that sometimes things don`t work out as you plan. It happens to the best of teams and it happens to the best of managers but the difference is provided of knowing when exactly to switch things up and move away from plan a.
Christiansen was reluctant to make those sorts of changes and was arrogant with his set-up, remaining with tactics that were not working – and it cost Leeds, with the aforementioned poor run of form earlier this season and the seven match winless streak that has followed since the turn of the year.
Fans had definitely become increasingly frustrated with Christiansen for not making the required changes and when you lose the fans, it`s incredibly difficult to win them back. There were also signs of him losing the players, not something many managers come back from really that is it?
With the fans on his back after another poor run, Christiansen needed his players to step-up and provide some inspiration to bring a return of form. Unfortunately, that was far from the case as the players let down their manager. And I`m quite sure some will say it was actually the manager letting down the players. Which argument is right? Probably a bit of both.
In the past five matches, Leeds` squad had an unforgivable record of four red cards in five matches – issued to Gaetano Berardi, Liam Cooper, Eunan O`Kane and Samuel Saiz – the latter of which came extremely late on in a shock FA Cup defeat to League Two side Newport County.
That woeful record points to dissatisfaction amongst players who failed to keep their heads, or maybe just a total lack of discipline? Whoever takes charge at Elland Road will swiftly need to bring an end to the recent disciplinary issues that has plagued the side in the past month.