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Leeds United finally took the verdict to dismiss manager Thomas Christiansen on Sunday after only eight months in the hot seat. Saturday’s demoralizing 4-1 home defeat to Cardiff City left the club in 10th place in the Championship. The Yorkshire side have failed to win since Boxing Day despite having huge hopes of promotion this term.
The latest defeat to Cardiff City follows fairly swiftly after Leeds’ embarrassing FA Cup loss against Newport County. For Christiansen, 44, it seems time and patience has simply run out, leaving Leeds looking for their 7th manager since 2014.
Despite further investing in the squad during the January transfer window, Saturday’s heavy defeat was Leeds’ third in the last four matches in the league and was a stark reminder of how brutal the Championship can be. Not too long ago, Christiansen won five of his first seven games in-charge last year which led to his side leading the league.
That good start led to high hopes that Leeds had found the man to drag this club kicking and screaming back into the Premier League but a poor run of 4 losses in 5 games during October followed by this latest dismal run has finally sealed Christiansen’s fate.
Having concluded the usual public niceties of thanking the Dane for his hard work over the last eight months, Leeds have reportedly chosen Barnsley’s Paul Heckingbottom as Christiansen’s successor. He is set to take over as Leeds boss in the next 24 hours, provided there are no hiccups in his contract negotiation. However, here are two candidates who’d have been apt for the Whites:
Was very much the clear early favourite for the job. McClaren has plenty of experience at this level and around England, having previously managed Derby County (twice), Newcastle United, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest.
Along with his domestic achievements, the former England manager has also coached in the Netherlands with FC Twente (twice) and in Germany with Wolfsburg. So it’s fair to say that Sir Alex Ferguson’s former assistant at Manchester United has been around a bit.
He certainly has the experience to do the job but lacks inspiration apparently. Following his disastrous spell in-charge at St. James’s Park, it was said several times around Newcastle – very nice man, not really a great coach. Nevertheless, he would have been a good candidate.
Former Leeds winger and Scotland boss Strachan was very much in consideration for the role and he would no doubt have fancied returning to management at one of his old clubs.
The 60-year-old from Edinburgh would have relished the chance to show off his skills and as a former Leeds favourite, he may have garnered some support from the stands. He’d have have been a good appointment.