HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen says that Leeds United’s opening-weekend win at Bolton Wanderers was the result that he had been dreaming about after his first league game in charge yielded three welcome points.
Christiansen became the first United boss to savour a first-day victory since Brian McDermott in August 2013, with his era getting underway with an entertaining 3-2 Championship win at the Macron Stadium, headlined by a first-half brace from Kalvin Phillips.
Victory did arrive at a price with defensive duo Gaetano Berardi and Matthew Pennington leaving the fray with shoulder and ankle injuries respectively, but positives outweighed the negatives on an afternoon when Leeds claimed their first away win since March 3.
While Christiansen started off his reign with victory, his Elland Road predecessor Garry Monk suffered a 1-0 defeat at Wolves in his first game in charge of Middlesbrough on what was a mixed opening weekend of results for Yorkshire’s Championship contingent.
Sheffield United registered their first second-tier win since April 2011 following a 1-0 win over Brentford in front of just under 27,000 at Bramall Lane, but there were undistinguished defeats for city rivals Sheffield Wednesday and South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley, who lost at Preston and Bristol City respectively.
Hull, meanwhile, picked up an excellent point in a 1-1 draw at Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa.
While Christiansen started off his reign with victory, his Elland Road predecessor Garry Monk suffered a 1-0 defeat at Wolves in his first game in charge of Middlesbrough on what was a mixed opening weekend of results for Yorkshire’s Championship contingent.Leon Wobschall
On his side’s win, Christiansen, who is expecting Cameron Borthwick-Jackson to complete his loan move from Manchester United shortly, said: “It was the game I expected.
“But the heart-rate went up a little bit during the game.
“But it was a result that I had dreamed of, taking the three points.
“This is of course the negative part of this win – that we had two injuries. We will see how important it is.
“Berardi’s is a shoulder injury and Pennington’s is an ankle injury from what I saw. I am not the doctor, but this is what I saw and in the next couple of days we will have a diagnosis of what exactly happened and the timeframe (for recovery). But let’s enjoy a few hours and this win – my first win in this league. To start the first game away with a win is of big importance and we have to continue with this. It has started in a good way and now we have a few games at home at Elland Road, so we will have more support than we had.
“But I am very happy for the ones who came. I could hear them a lot and they were a big support for the team.
“I want to create and score. But I don’t like to see us concede the goals that we did.”
Like Christiansen, Hull chief Leonid Slutsky was also able to reflect on a positive opening league game in charge, of the Tigers, with the Russian hoping that his side’s 1-1 televised draw at Villa Park will encourage targets to join the club.
Slutsky is in the market for several new players to boost his squad and feels that the sight of Hull showing that they can make a potential impact against a Championship big-hitter will do that quest no harm whatsoever.
Slutsky said: “Maybe new players will have watched this game and think, ‘Hull is a good team, I want to join this team’. That could be good motivation for a player.
“I hope we have signings by next weekend. The Premier League starts next Saturday and loan options will be possible.
“The result was important. Had we lost, it would not have been good. It will be good for everyone emotionally that we played well. It means we can prepare for the next game in a good mood, with serious motivation.”
Blades manager Chris Wilder was also understandably enthused by his side starting off the campaign in the same vein as they finished the old one, with a victory, and he was especially delighted for the club’s loyal fanbase.
Wilder, whose side have won their last eight league matches and have not tasted defeat since January 24, said: “First and foremost I must talk about our support for the last six years. We’ve had it tough in this city.
“That is a reward for the outstanding support, loyalty and love of their football club that they’ve shown through thick and thin. I’ve got to say, I thought that the atmosphere was right up there. It was an outstanding effort from us against a brilliant Brentford side.”
Reports: Pages 2-4.