The challenges now facing Milanic at Leeds United

Like most Championship managers, Darko Milanic has had plenty to ponder during the international break and will be utilising his time with his new charges at Thorp Arch to stamp his coaching ethos on the squad.

Darko Milanic.

Some particularly pertinent questions face the Slovenian ahead and below are four key issues to address:


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Scores of Leeds United supporters are salivating at the prospect of seeing the Brazilian playmaker – saddled for better or worse with the ‘new Kaka’ moniker – in first-team action.

He showed glimpses of his prodigious talent, albeit against an inexperienced Doncaster Rovers side in the Premier League Cup on Monday evening, netting a well-taken goal in the 6-0 rout in the process.

Judging by his Twitter account, the Flamengo loanee is ready to make a first-team impact, yet a dilemma faces Milanic.

If he throws him into the unforgiving Championship furnace for half-an-hour – with some seriously tough games coming up – and the game passes him by in terms of pace and physically, that could seriously hinder his future development.

That said, the time is surely not too far off. The smart money at the moment is on him continuing to do the hard yards at Thorp Arch to get in pristine condition to be truly ready to step up.


The ball-playing midfielder arrived with a fair bit of fanfare in the summer of 2013, becoming United’s first million-pound signing since Richard Cresswell in August, 2005.

A last-minute winner on the opening day of the 2013-14 represented the perfect start, but it has proved the high point of a stuttering United career.

Put simply, the jury is out on him while others are losing patience with his senseless Capital One Cup dismissal at Bradford exacerbating matters.

Others, including YEP columnist Andy Ritchie, believe there is still a ‘player’ in there.

Now approaching his mid-twenties, Murphy needs to show what he is made of and fast.


The Messi role or false nine, call it what you will. As far as Leeds are concerned, it will be interesting to see who is handed that play-making brief at Rotherham next Friday.

Casper Sloth failed to settle in the role against the Owls and looked for all intents and purposes a deeper-lying midfielder asked to do a job there. It is a position that Adryan has his eyes on and possibly Chris Dawson.


Visits under the lights to Rotherham and Norwich and a home encounter with Wolverhampton Wanderers represent arduous forthcoming tests.

The clash with the Millers will be a test of United’s mettle. A side with a ferocious work-ethic and high-energy game, strong at set-pieces and with a semblance of physical threat, everyone who has played the Millers this term has been thoroughly tested.

Factor in the derby stakes and Leeds must ‘man up’ at the New York Stadium where there is the Luciano Becchio factor to be taken into account.

The game at Norwich may be a long journey away, but given some high-octane clashes in recent times, it has taken on a ‘semi-derby’ status, with Carrow Road never an easy place to go at the best of times for Leeds.