Millwall v Leeds United: Christiansen tells players to embrace pressure of being top

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THOMAS CHRISTIANSEN admits Leeds United “are the team to beat” after moving to the top of the Championship.

The Elland Road club leapfrogged Cardiff City into pole position in midweek and are looking to stay there by triumphing at one of their bogey grounds of recent years.

In their last eight visits to Millwall, United have returned north empty-handed seven times but Christiansen is looking to change that sorry record.

“We are the team to beat, of course,” said Christiansen. “But we have to live with that if this is the position that we would like to maintain. We have to get used to it.

“Of course, some people can handle the pressure and some people can’t. But what we expect is that we can handle all of these things.

“I like the pressure that is put on the team and this is also my message to the players – deal with it.”

PRESSURE POINTS: Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen.

PRESSURE POINTS: Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen.

Leeds head to The Den as the only Football League side still unbeaten in all competitions.

It is a record that contrasts sharply with a year ago, when Garry Monk’s men had just seven points from as many games and were languishing in the lower part of the table.

From such inauspicious beginnings, however, a push for the play-offs was built that only faltered in the final month as the Yorkshire club dropped out of the top six.

Much has changed since that late collapse, including the manager, and one of those new faces believes Leeds have what it takes to stick around the upper echelons of the second tier.

I like the pressure that is put on the team and this is also my message to the players – deal with it.

Leeds United head coach, Thomas Christiansen

“Of course I believe,” said Ezgjan Alioski when asked yesterday if such a promising start can be maintained.

“We have a big team and also when some players can’t play we have other players who can replace them. When I see what we do, away and also at home, I believe.

“When I first came here and I saw the team I believed we could do something. I am very happy that we are there and we must continue to stay there.”

Pierre-Michel Lasogga travelled to London with the rest of the United squad as he awaits the arrival of his first child.

Leeds United's Pierre-Michel Lasogga

Leeds United's Pierre-Michel Lasogga

The striker, who netted twice on debut, returned to Germany after Tuesday’s win over Birmingham City to visit his partner but flew back to England and is in the squad.