Thomas Christiansen: Leeds United coach targets 'fantastic' Premier League promotion

Thomas Christiansen
Thomas Christiansen played in Spain, Italy, Germany and Denmark

New Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen says he has the vision to bring success to the Championship club.

The former Spain international was appointed as Garry Monk's successor last week.

Leeds have not played in the top flight since relegation in 2004.

"I'm the guy who really wants to be here and has clear ideas of what I want to do to succeed and I am ambitious to bring Leeds back to where they belong," the 44-year-old told BBC Radio Leeds.

"If we can do that in the first year then fantastic, if it is the second year that will not be bad."

He continued: "I'll try to put my ideas on to the pitch to dominate games and have control of it. I'm very excited and believe we can do good things here.

"Last year they finished seventh and I hope to do better this season."

Denmark-born Christiansen's only previous managerial experience came in Cyprus with AEK Larnaca and Apoel Nicosia.

He is the Elland Road side's sixth manager in three years, but is confident that he can win over the club's fans.

"It is obvious that I did not sign here because of my name. I can only promise intense work and that I will do my best," he added.

"I hope that the fans will see a team with passion and that is ambitious to do something important."


BBC Radio Leeds' Leeds United commentator Adam Pope

Having convinced the management he is the right man for the job, I suspect Christiansen's first real challenge will be to win over the squad who return to training on Monday. He said it was exactly his job to do that and was keen to point out that wherever he has been he has exacted 100% from his players and that is why he has created history in Cyprus.

On the player front, Christiansen says the work was already under way to recruit "the sort of players I like", which director of football Victor Orta has started to identify. Clearly it will be a collective effort when it comes to signings but Orta stressed that the head coach would have the final say, adding "to work any other way is stupid".

Christiansen is fully aware that most Leeds supporters greeted his appointed with a "Thomas who?". He admits that he doesn't have the name of a Claudio Ranieri or other coaches who have been linked with the job, but he says he really wants to be here and believes in his ability to return Leeds United to the Premier League.

The list of foreign coaches coming to the Championship and winning promotion in their first season without experience of the Championship is short. Slavisa Jokanovic managed it at Watford but at least he had played at Chelsea

Christiansen revealed to me that as a boy he loved English football, with Liverpool the team of choice, but whether he can fall head over heels with the unique vagaries of the second flight of English football remains to be seen. Christiansen appears clear of thought, modest and flexible but there is no doubt that the club have taken a risk in bringing him to Elland Road in what is either a gamble or a stroke of genius.

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