Thomas Christiansen
Christiansen was sacked after just 35 games in charge at Elland Road. Getty Images


  • The Dane says an inability to replace the suspended Samuel Saiz sparked his own downfall.
  • Leeds suffered four red cards in Christiansen's final five games in charge.

Former Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen believes the ill-discipline shown by the Championship side towards the end of his tenure at Elland Road was central to his dismissal.

The Dane was sacked at the start of February following the 4-1 defeat to Cardiff City - which came amid a seven-game winless run - just a quarter of the way through his two-year contract in west Yorkshire.

Following an encouraging first half of the campaign, Leeds spiralled out of the play-off positions thanks to a disastrous run which saw them lose four out of six in the league and crash out of the FA Cup after defeat to Newport County.

Such run of form was underpinned by a complete lack of discipline which saw four players sent off during that period including forward Samuel Saiz who was dismissed against Newport for spitting at opponent Robbie Willmott during the 2-1 loss at Rodney Parade, and then banned for six games.

Eunan O'Kane, Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi would later receive their marching orders in harrowing defeats to Ipswich Town, Millwall and Cardiff – the final game of Christiansen's seven-month tenure.

And having been told Leeds were unable to sign replacements, Christiansen said he was powerless to repair the damage sustained by the succession of suspensions.

"Our best player, Spaniard Samuel Saiz, got a red card for spitting at an opponent in the face as we went out of the FA Cup against Newport," he told Danish newspaper BT. "He got six matches out and some of the others also got long suspensions.

"Samuel Saiz was our most important player in the offensive part of the game and we couldn't afford to buy a new one. Suspensions and injuries piled up. The squad just wasn't big enough for us to replace those players."

Though Leeds did sign four players during the January transfer window, owner Andrea Radrizzani has since admitted that the club will be forced to offload players in the summer due to having maxed-out the club's wage budget.

"On our side, for Leeds, we've achieved already the top of our budget in terms of salaries," Radrizzani told the Yorkshire Evening Post earlier this month. "We should actually cut some for next year because we have probably too many players. My idea for the squad is 20 players plus four or six coming from the youth.

"The financial condition of the club did not allow us the possibility to buy top, mature players for the Championship in England because the prices are too high. This year it was necessary for us to have international recruitment.

"There was no other way we could have players with the quality of Samuel Saiz or Gjanni Alioski from the local market. We follow the strategy because we don't have any other choice but from now on we will be far more focused on the domestic market, particularly the young players."