Leeds chief Paul Heckingbottom sets out approach ahead of trip to Sheffield United

New Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom: First game against Blades.
New Leeds United head coach Paul Heckingbottom: First game against Blades.
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NEW head coach Paul Heckingbottom insists everyone at Leeds United starts today with a clean slate.

The 40-year-old has inherited a squad that struggles for the consistency required to prosper in the Championship.

Leeds beat his Barnsley side 2-0 in November but results have been poor lately, which is why the West Riding club trail the play-offs by seven points.

“It is definitely a clean slate for everyone,” said Heckingbottom ahead of his first game in charge. “Obviously, I have seen games and played against them. I also know players from previous clubs, in games that I have seen.

“I would also be foolish not to tap into the knowledge of the staff who have been working with them all the time.

“There is always going to be an external input before I come in but now I am judging them as I see them, as I get to know them as footballers and people. That is one thing that I do like to do.

“I don’t mind pushing the players and I don’t mind being tough on the players but they will have my back and they will have my support so I need to get to know them.”

Pontus Jansson is fit to face the Blades but United’s squad remains decimated by injury and the rash of four red cards in the last five outings.

Asked about his approach to the squad he inherited from Thomas Christiansen, the new Leeds chief added: “It is pointless me standing there and saying everything to them in one go. So, basically, we just spoke about really our values as a team and as a group and what we want to do.

“About the need to build a mentality that is about winning and improving. I am not a manager who gets hung up on systems, especially in possession. Just the principles and the standards we need to set, to then hopefully take us forward.”