Let’s be honest, Paul Heckingbottom doesn’t fuck about does he? If players don’t play well they find themselves out of the squad, ask Eunan O’Kane, Kemar Roofe and Laurens De Bock. We’ve needed this sort of management from someone for a while now and at the end of the game today every player made sure they embraced Heckingbottom as the head-coach from Roysten begins to build his foundations.
In one of the toughest months I’ve seen on a fixture calendar since I can remember we have begun to turn it around. A crossbars width away from a winner against Bristol City, even closer to a win away at Derby County and a dive away from a point at Sheffield United, and he’s only just getting started. The win today lifts the pressure on the squad and you could see players begin to thrive as we chased the win at the end of the game, rather than get nervous and sit deep. Players put their bodies on the line and one of the least effective players in recent times Gjanni Alioksi optimised the effort and desire today with arguably his best performance in a Leeds United shirt.
We have literally been a whisker away from taking nine points from the last three games and if that had happened we would be sat in 6th tonight so it juts shows you how well he has done, with a team that clearly isn’t as good as it was last season and the impact he has had at the club. He sat down with every player individually this week to chat with them and get to know them and that in itself is exactly what I want from the head-coach. He has a great reputation for being a brilliant man-manager and the reaction from Saiz at the end of the game said it all, hugging his manager and laughing, a player who has returned and hit the ground running in a game and a half, the new manager clearly impressing him as well.
One important thing for me is that he isn’t a robot. Garry Monk and Thomas Christiansen grated on me in every interview after the first few, the same old bollocks every week about how well we played despite clearly not playing well, media trained so that nothing came out that was really blunt or what the fans really wanted to hear. Heckingbottom engages me instantly and watching videos of training you can see that the players are really gripping what he’s all about and the appointment was a real change in mentality for me, from the owner and director of football and as I said a few weeks ago, I believe in this and over time it will only benefit us. We may have left it too late this season but after today this season isn’t worth packing in just yet.