New Leeds boss: Club has to be in Premier League

Date published: Monday 19th June 2017 2:54

Leeds’ new head coach Thomas Christiansen is excited by the challenge of steering the club back into the Premier League.

Former APOEL Nicosia boss Christiansen, 44, who has signed a two-year contract with an option for a third, was formally unveiled at Elland Road on Monday lunch-time.

Leeds announced Christiansen as their eighth manager since May 2014 last Thursday. Julio Banuelos has followed him from APOEL to be his assistant at Elland Road, with Ivan Torres installed as fitness coach and Marcos Abad as goalkeeping coach.

“I’m very excited and believe we can do good things here,” Christiansen said. “I believe in my possibilities. This is why I’m here and Leeds also believe in my abilities and we all want the same.

“Last year we finished seventh. At least the promotion should be there and of course we hope to do better.”

Christiansen, successor to Garry Monk who quit the club last month and has since been installed as Middlesbrough’s new manager, guided APOEL to the last 16 of the Europa League and their domestic league title in his only season in charge, but his 12-month contract was not renewed.

APOEL, Cyprus’ most successful club, were knocked out of the Champions League in the preliminary stages and Christiansen departed on May 25, the same day Monk handed in his shock resignation at Leeds.

Christiansen impressed club owner Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta with a presentation during his interview last week in Madrid.

“The most important is that you know where you’re going, what you want to do in the new club and have an idea of work, that was what I presented,” Christiansen said.

“My ideas, how I saw the team, what I want to do and that was in the presentation and it looks like they liked it.

“I’m in a big club with ambition and also one of the things that inspired me to come here after having a talk with Victor and the chairman, it’s a big club which deserves and has to be in the Premier League.

“I believe with good work we can achieve that. Since I was a boy I’ve followed the English league and know how they play and how they have advanced.”

Orta, appointed to his role at Elland Road last month, stressed Christiansen would be consulted closely and would have the last word on any new players to arrive at the club.

The new head coach will be given a “specific budget” for summer signings, Orta said, while Christiansen confirmed he had no plans at this stage to bring in new players from his former club and was happy with the squad he had inherited.

“Being in England is something important,” Christiansen added. “It’s always been a dream for me. I’ve always followed English football.

“It’s been a big target and now I have this big opportunity to come to Leeds.”

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