Thomas Christiansen: Leeds United name ex-Spain international as head coach

Thomas Christiansen
Thomas Christiansen won his only two caps for Spain in 1993

Leeds United have appointed former Apoel Nicosia manager Thomas Christiansen as their new head coach.

The former Spain international, 44, has signed a deal to replace Garry Monk, who left Elland Road in May.

Christiansen led Apoel to the Cypriot First Division title and the Europa League last 16 in 2016-17, which was his sole season in charge.

The former Barcelona striker is Leeds' sixth boss since Brian McDermott left in May 2014.

His only other managerial experience is with AEK Larnaca, also in Cyprus' top tier, who he led from 2014 to 2016.

Leeds managing director Angus Kinnear said: "Thomas was someone who had been on our radar from the very early stages of the process and quickly established himself as the outstanding candidate.

"We are confident we have found a man with who can work with us to take the club to the next level."

Monk failed to agree terms on a new deal with new owner Andrea Radrizzani and was appointed Middlesbrough boss earlier this month.

Denmark-born Christiansen, who qualified to represent Spain through his mother, played in Spain, Greece, Denmark and Germany during his career and finished as joint top scorer in the Bundesliga while playing for Bochum in 2002-03.

Analysis

John Leonidou, Cyprus correspondent for Uefa.com, speaking to BBC Radio Leeds

I am confident he will be able to handle the pressure at Leeds. He certainly had a good crash course at Apoel where he was under tremendous pressure but always kept his composure.

He is a really nice guy and he speaks very good English, Spanish and Danish. The players at Apoel spoke highly of him and found him very approachable.

He generally liked to play a 4-5-1 with Apoel, occasionally switching to a 4-3-3. Apoel were not prolific and their main strengths under him were defending and keeping the ball. I would not expect a Barcelona style of football but he will certainly tighten things and make them tough to beat.

He is very ambitious and he will be delighted with this move. To get a chance to coach such a big team in England will be a dream for him.

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