Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani last night admitted he made a “mistake” in appointing rookie boss Thomas Christiansen.
The Leeds owner ended Christiansen’s 35-game reign as head coach on Sunday, 24 hours after a crushing 4-1 home defeat to Cardiff City.
Radrizzani said he had given Christiansen “many chances” to prove himself and pointed to Leeds’s FA Cup defeat to League Two side Newport County last month as the result which ended his faith in Dane.
Paul Heckingbottom was named as his replacement within 48 hours, arriving from Barnsley after Leeds paid £500,000 to buy him out of his contract at Oakwell.
Radrizzani accused Christiansen of failing “in terms of communication, leadership and confidence” and apologised to the club’s support for gambling on a coach whose prior experience consisted of three years spent managing in Cyprus.
“Anything that doesn’t work is a mistake so yes, I did make a mistake,” Radrizzani said. “I apologise to the fans and the club, and for my experience I need to learn and analyse better my choice before making it.
I waited for a long time before taking the decision and gave him many chances. Already at the beginning of January I was really keen to change. Victor (Orta, Leeds’s director of football) convinced me to hold on and give him one moreAndrea Radrizzani
“At the same time, he seemed to be someone successful and fresh who could match with the new phase of the club, my new management and the new freshness around the team. But if you watch the games we conceded so many chances early on, in the first few minutes. This is a sign that mentally the players are not relaxed. They are stressed and this is why I could feel that probably the manager was not transmitting security and confidence.
“I waited for a long time before taking the decision and gave him many chances. Already at the beginning of January I was really keen to change. Victor (Orta, Leeds’s director of football) convinced me to hold on and give him one more, one more, one more; extra chances but at the end, something was missing.”
Radrizzani added: “We need to share this responsibility but probably the job was a little bit too big for him at this point in his career. I wish him good luck and success and he will have the time to grow but at the same time I think this league is competitive, very difficult and he probably lacked a little bit in terms of knowledge of the football.”