THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN insists he is well prepared to handle the pressure and scrutiny at Leeds United after being unveiled as the club’s eighth head coach in just over three years.
The 44-year-old former APOEL Nicosia and AEK Larnaca boss, who has signed a two-year deal with an option of a third, is confident that his experiences in Cyprus can serve him in good stead at Elland Road after the first major appointment of his coaching career.
Christiansen said: “It (APOEL) is a very difficult club and if you see the situation during the last four or five years – where they sacked two or three coaches each year – I started and finished. Then you can understand the pressure that you have there.
“If you lose two games in a row you are more out than in.”
Relishing the prospect of his maiden coaching experience in a leading footballing nation – and fresh from taking APOEL to the last 16 of the Europa League and winning the Cypriot league title – Christiansen added: “In APOEL, we won the league and had a historic season in Europe. It was difficult to make something better (next season).
“Because we (Leeds) did not come to the play-offs, that gives me the possibility to at least join the play-offs this season.
“Being in England is something important. It has always been a dream for me. I have always followed English football and it has been a target. I have said many times I would like to be in Spain, Germany, England and now I have this big opportunity to come to Leeds.”
Christiansen will be assisted by ex-Burgos and Mirandes coach Julio Banuelos, 46 – his assistant in his two jobs in Cyprus – with Marcos Abad brought as goalkeeping coach and Ivan Torres installed as fitness coach.
Long-time Elche goalkeeping coach Abad had a short spell earlier this year at Middlesbrough with new United director of football Victor Orta.
Meanwhile, Orta confirmed that former assistant head coach Pep Clotet, first-team coach James Beattie and goalkeeping coach Darryl Flahavan have left the club and stated that they are to join ex-United head coach Garry Monk at Middlesbrough.
Orta also stressed that Christiansen would have the final say on any incoming transfers at the club during this summer.
Orta said: “In my model, the head coach always has the last word as it is stupid for the head coach to bring in a player he doesn’t want.
“This is stupid and it is impossible to have success with this kind of decision. In my model, the head coach always has the last word and we have discussed that with Angus (Kinnear – managing director).
“There is always the economic balance situation because it is really important at this club during this moment.
“For me, if we are going to grow on the road to success, it is really important to have this synergy and trust together.
“At the end, we want the same thing, which is promotion and getting to the Premier League. For me, this is best road to try and get success.”
Attention will now switch to recruitment, with Orta intimating that the club may seek value from the overseas market, with a premium placed on leading domestic-based players.