Barnsley v Leeds United: Everyone wanting to beat Whites ‘proves how big this club is’

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LEEDS UNITED head coach Thomas Christiansen hopes that Barnsley counterpart Paul Heckingbottom has already done part of his pre-derby motivational speech for him.

Heckingbottom described Leeds as “a team everyone loves to hate” ahead of facing them at Oakwell today.

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen (Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage).

The Reds boss called the fixture “a big derby for us” and recalled how talk of United’s history and tradition was “rammed down your throat” as a youngster.

“We hated Leeds and they hated us and that is how it was,” Heckingbottom said, recalling his years as a Barnsley supporter when a lad.

He added: “It’s a team everyone loves to hate, but a big club with a big tradition. It’s a big derby for us.”

Only one Leeds manager, Brian McDermott, has claimed victory away at Barnsley in the past decade and Christiansen told his players to heed Heckingbottom’s comments by preparing themselves for a committed display from Barnsley.

“It’s good for me to know the things that we can expect there,” Christiansen said. “If their manager has pronounced that then it can give my players more motivation to know what is awaiting them, and for them to be ready for this situation.”

Christiansen was new to English football when Leeds appointed him as head coach in June, but asked why United were a side rival clubs “love to hate”, he said: “Because we are a big team.

“I’ve followed my football for many years and obviously this club is a historic club. With Leeds, everyone wants to beat them. Also in this league with the fans and how massive they go to the away games, that proves how big this club is. This is why all the teams want to beat Leeds.”

United were beaten 4-1 by Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek and start the day 10th, three points short of the play-off spots.