Pontus Jansson: ‘Let them hate us, I don’t care, Leeds are on the way back’

first_imgA £20 note is still worth 20 pounds even after being scrunched up and bashed against a table by a very irate man. That was the point that the Sheffield Wednesday manager, Carlos Carvahal, seemed to be making on Tuesday in a press conference performance that was much more impressive than his expensively assembled team have been so far this season. Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest Leeds United beat Burnley on penalties after tense match of late dramas Lasogga was loaned from Hamburg as the closest replacement that Leeds could find quickly for last season’s top scorer, Chris Wood, whose wish to be sold to Burnley was granted in August. Lasogga has started well and already looks indispensable, at least for matches in which Leeds’ otherwise lightweight forwards risk being bullied. The two teams to have beaten them this season, Cardiff and Millwall, did so after roughing them up. Most changes have been good, but being roughed up is not something folks at Leeds are ever likely to accept. Jansson, for one, is having none of it, as you might expect from a player so combative that, according to a chant, “if you throw a brick at him, he’ll head the fucker back”.“Last year we were good against physical teams and had problems with teams who play football but this year has been the complete opposite,” says Jansson. “The teams who want to play good football, we kill them from the first minute. But Millwall and Cardiff are two physical teams who play another type of football and that’s something we have to work on. We have a lot of new players and it will take time for them to come into the Championship. We have to discuss about it and prepare for a physical game on Sunday. It’s a derby and [Wednesday] are going to come at us from the first minute so we have to go out there and play like 11 animals, prepare for a war.”Jansson says that attitude is mandatory at Leeds. Other teams help make it so. That is one of the things he has taken it upon himself to explain to new arrivals. “It’s important for me to help the new guys into that,” he says. “Everybody wants to beat us. Leeds is a team that a lot of people hate in this country. I’ve seen that. People hate Leeds for a reason. Because Leeds were a fantastic club in the past but also now. I always think about my past in Malmo. People in Sweden hate Malmo because Malmo are too good for the others and that can be the reason for Leeds also. Leeds have come through 10 or 15 tough years. But now we are on our way back. Let them hate us. I don’t care.” Share on Facebook Let’s shout it from the dales: here’s why Yorkshire is the best Leeds United Championship Read more Reuse this contentcenter_img Dave Simpson Share on Messenger Topics features Carvahal’s job is in jeopardy in advance of Sunday’s visit from Wednesday’s fellow Yorkshiremen and fallen giants, Leeds United. Wednesday have gone close to returning to the top flight in the last two seasons while, for the last decade and more, success for Leeds has tended to mean averting farce for a few months. But change is afoot. Leeds are looking upwards with fresh confidence.Leeds hinted at promotion last season under Garry Monk but when they faded and Monk defected to Middlesbrough, fans suffered flashbacks to the many other times in the club’s recent history when hope has merely been the prelude to more chaos. But things seem different now thanks to a strong start to the season and, most of all, to Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian businessmen who took a 50% stake in Leeds in January before completing his takeover in May.One of the first things that Radrizzani did was buy back Elland Road, the home Leeds had to sell 13 years ago when the scale of the financial recklessness during their Champions League escapades became clear. Radrizzani wants to develop the stadium and the area around it. Reclaiming their home fuelled an upsurge in supporter optimism and season ticket sales, which reached over 20,400 by the start of this campaign, the highest since the club’s Premier League years.Radrizzani’s predecessor, Massimo Cellino, occasionally hit on good ideas too but alternated them with terrible ones. Radrizzani has brought stability, plus smart investment. Nearly half of the £100m he has spent so far went on the stadium, a chunk of the rest went on recruitment. The club’s 10th manager in five years, Thomas Christiansen, had success in Cyprus but was little known in England when appointed in June. He has impressed so far, forming a slick team from a squad featuring 16 new signings.Most of those new signings were bought on the recommendation of Victor Orta, the new director of football, hailed by Christiansen as “the Wikipedia of Football” because of his knowledge.“There’s been a huge difference since I came here,” says Pontus Jansson, the tubthumping Swedish centre-back who became an immediate crowd favourite when he joined on loan from Torino last season. Signing him on a permanent deal in the summer was another good move by the new regime. “I think with the new owner, he’s really professional. He’s willing to listen and learn. He’s got very good staff around him so he’s not making all the decisions by himself. And he really loves this club, he’s thinking in all directions – for the players, the fans, the staff, the ground. And lots of new little things. Even the food – that’s a small thing for you but for us players its important. Recovery in this league is really important and food is a way to recover well. So I’ve only good things to say about Andrea, he’s made a huge difference to this club.”The difference on the pitch has been visible, though not radical. Christiansen’s preferred style is similar to Monk’s, possession-focused, but with more emphasis on attack. Several nifty creators arrived through the summer shopping spree, notably Samuel Sáiz, who has made the fee (around £3.5m) paid for him to Huesca seem a bargain. The introduction of more flair has not been at the cost of defensive organisation, as Leeds proved by keeping six straight clean sheets earlier in the campaign.“We have a lot of options this year – defensively, offensively, everywhere,” says Jansson. “It’s made it tough for everyone. Samuel and Pierre [Michel Lasogga] have been two of our best players but they were on the bench against Cardiff this week. That’s Thomas’s way to keep everyone fresh.”That match against Cardiff, however, ended in a 3-1 defeat and brought evidence that Leeds still have improving to do to complete their return. For a start, Christiansen’s use of his squad backfired for the first time. The decision to start Kemar Roofe up front was understandable because the forward had been in promising form and might have stretched Cardiff’s defenders with his nippy running, but, as it turned out, Cardiff subdued him easily and would probably have been more bothered by the muscular Lasogga, who stayed on the bench. Read more Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Share via Emaillast_img read more


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