UWE ROSLER has insisted “the past is not my problem” after revealing every member of the Leeds United squad has started pre-season with the chance of forcing their way into his plans.
The 46-year-old is determined that Elland Road will be a harmonious place in the coming season as he looks to take United up the Championship table.
With four signings already on board, including the club’s most expensive capture in 13 years, Rosler is starting to stamp his own mark on a squad that last term struggled for form until Neil Redfearn opted to ditch many of the new arrivals from abroad in favour of players more experienced in the English game.
Results may have improved markedly thanks to the switch but the dramatic late withdrawal of six foreign players citing injury ahead of April’s trip to Charlton Athletic left fans incensed and accusing the absentees of disloyalty.
All six – several of whom took to social media in the face of supporter hostility to insist their injuries had been genuine – failed to appear in any of United’s last two games but Rosler, appointed as Redfearn’s successor in May, is adamant that everyone at the club returned to training on Monday with a “clean slate”.
“The players are putting good shifts in and I will give everyone a chance,” the German head coach told The Yorkshire Post. “For example, Nicky Ajose is running everyone into the ground. He has prepared well in the summer.
“If he can bring that on to the pitch, the boy has a chance. It is important everyone realises that what happened in the past is not my problem.
“All I can influence is what happens now.
“That means judging the players and picking the team from what I see in training. A clean slate for everyone.”
Rosler is determined to start the 2015-16 campaign strongly and has put the squad through a gruelling time in pre-season to ensure they are ready for what he describes as “ten months of hell”.
Even on Wednesday when the temperature gauge nudged towards 30 degrees Celsius, there was no let-up for the United players who, after a 90-minute session on the main pitch at Thorp Arch, had to complete a session on the exercise bikes under the close watch of Rosler’s coaching staff.
The Leeds head coach added: “We tested the players when they came back and now we have put in place a programme designed to get them up to speed.
“We also made a representation to the players about how we want them to play and why we are doing these physical drills. They are an intelligent group, some are very experienced, and the response has been very promising.
“One of the recipes in the Championship is you need fitness but you also need good morale.
“You need team spirit to carry you through difficult spells.
“It is a very demanding league and probably one of the most difficult in Europe with the match programme and the way the football is played.
“To come through successfully, you need good morale in the camp and that is what we are trying to create. We want everyone to feel included and happy with the environment.”