Leeds United head for busy holiday schedule in good spirits
Having moved to within a point of the play-off places Leeds United will be looking to move into the top six once again when they host another side in the bottom half of the table on Saturday.
The Whites take on Hull City on the back of three wins and a draw in their last four games and with 13 points collected from their six matches since the last international break with the only defeat coming against top of the table Wolves.
After a run of seven defeats in eight it is a big transformation and a real vindication of the board’s patience with head coach Thomas Christiansen.
It does seem that this team is now learning how to win tight games while still trying to play some quality passing football and another clean sheet in the latest Sky Bet Championship match against Norwich will give them more confidence for the busy period ahead before the end of the year with four matches in 10 days.
Christiansen was understandably delighted after the 1-0 win over Norwich.
He said: “I am very pleased with the performance and finally with the three points.
“A victory that gives us more confidence, belief that this is where we belong – close to the top six. Of course we want to try and finish the first round in that position.”
On the reaction to the poor run of form before the last international break, he said: “Well I think it’s important the position where we are, how we play, how we take the results. Especially after the bad results we have had.
“But the response has been good, the believing in the possibilities that we have in the squad have been there always and now we also took a very positive result.”
Christiansen is now already focusing on the Hull game: “We are ready and we are going to work hard on it. We have one week time to prepare for this important game so we’re looking forward to it.”
Saturday’s opponents, Hull, come into the game on the back of a narrow defeat to second-placed Cardiff City, which left them down in 19th place.
They have struggled despite the benefit of the Premier League parachute payment, which allows them a superior budget to long time Championship clubs like Leeds, but will be dangerous with their players looking to impress recently installed manager Nigel Adkins ahead of next month’s transfer window opening.
Leeds will be looking to keep up their increasingly impressive threat from set pieces after their winning goal against Norwich came from a free-kick when Pontus Jansson headed home Pawel Cibicki’s delivery.
Regarding the improvement from set pieces and the impact made by specialist coach in this area, Gianni Vio, since his appointment, Christiansen added: “There’s been a lot but, again, we speak about confidence.
“Of course the delivery of the balls has to be good, but the movements, the timing, everything is going well and (against Norwich) we created three very dangerous opportunities.
“One on the post, another straight in the arms of the goalkeeper but arriving alone plus the goal that Pontus scored so I am very, very happy and this is in this football it’s very important the set pieces. You see it can give three points.
“I believe Gianni is one of the best, as I said, in his job and this is why we brought him here. But also it takes time for the players to adapt to a new coach, a new system and also the new set pieces.
“How they have to stay, how they have to defend, the movements, all these things need it’s time and last week or last home game we scored one on set pieces, we scored another one and we hope it continues next week.”