Paul Heckingbottom is an interesting character. It takes months for fans to get to know a head-coach or manager in terms of personality but what is interesting about this move from the club is that Heckingbottom is very much aware of everything Leeds United. He is straight talking and knows what he wants. He wasn’t holding back today when he said he “would hate to put out a passive side” on Sunday and “wait for a result”.
Thomas Christiansen was let down by some of his players in the end but he also let himself down in terms of tactics and team selection. There wasn’t much he could do about players getting sent off in games, mistakes and missed chances but he did often put out a passive side and I hadn’t really thought about that until today. We often hoped for moments from the likes of Samu Saiz and Pablo Hernandez and Paul Heckingbottom, the first coach since the players arrived is the only one of the three to say that. He said, after Sheffield United that the squad can’t just rely on a moment from Pablo to create something, it’s a squad game and he wants the whole team attacking. Pierre-Michel Lasogga today said that the whole squad was regaining its confidence under Paul Heckingbottom and I think that the arrival was exactly what we needed, a straight-talking coach who is also a man-manager of players, and not someone who stands and watches in training.
He is spot on about putting out a side that just waits for something to happen and we have been that way for some time now. We rarely take the game tom other teams or play our own way, we just try to stop the opponent rather than focus on ourselves and that wasn’t just Thomas Christiansen it was Garry Monk as well. Leeds United haven’t had a style of football for a long time, and Neil Warnock’s hoof-ball couldn’t really be described as a style that anyone at Leeds United wanted. Introducing a style, tactics and a variety of formations is what this team needs, we have players who can adapt and may flourish in different roles and we need to start trying new things. I genuinely think we have become so predictable that teams are delighted to see an away trip to Elland Road on the fixture list and that is so far backwards of where we were during the middle of last season. Heckingbottom needs time, he needs to work out who will be in his plans and who won’t and I’m pretty sure a couple shocked him, and not in a good way in Sheffield last weekend.