Milanic working hard to continue progress at Leeds United

Darko Milanic on the sidelines at Elland Road.Darko Milanic on the sidelines at Elland Road.
Darko Milanic on the sidelines at Elland Road.
He may yet to have celebrated victory since taking over as head coach, but Darko Milanic is happy to have seen some signs of definite progression from his new Leeds United team in each of his three matches so far.

Following the less than impressive start with defeat at Brentford the Whites at least defended well and looked more solid in their midweek goalless draw with Reading before being much brighter to be unlucky to only take a 1-1 draw from last Saturday’s Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday.

While it was still not an entirely convincing display it was only the heroics of Wednesday keeper Kieren Westwood that prevented Leeds from giving their new boss his first Sky Bet Championship victory.

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Fans now have a wait before finding out if the progression can be maintained with an international break meaning the next game is not until Friday, October 17 when Leeds go to Rotherham.

The week without a game has come at a good time, however, for Milanic as he intends to use the extra training time to help himself get to know his new players better.

With a little player unease revealed by striker Steve Morison and defender Stephen Warnock he has a bit of work to do it seems to win all the squad over and supporters have been wary so far, although they warmed to him with the way the team tried to play some constructive passing football against the Owls.

The fans are taking to some of the new Italian player recruits as well, particularly centre-half Giuseppe Bellusci, who appears to be a real character and has an unexpected eye for a goal having followed up his stunning strike against Bournemouth last month with his second goal in Leeds colours, which cancelled out Chris Maguire’s goal against the run of play for Wednesday.

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A draw was the least United deserved from the game and Milanic was pleased with what he saw.

He said: “We had a good game with a lot of energy and a lot of good play also in the last third, which is what we missed in the last game.

“We had some very good actions, we played well and we had some very good opportunities, but the goalkeeper was extremely good.

“After they scored it was very difficult and we lost a little bit of calm. But after we made it 1-1, I believed that we could win the game.

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“In the second half we had some great chances to score and I think that although the result is not good, altogether it was better.

“It was extremely quick and the opponents were not really dangerous.

“The players here have quality but we have to do some things better in the game.

“I want to remain so compact and solid. We played quicker in the last third, but we also have to do it from defence.

“My job is to improve the team.

“We’re working very hard to make a good team.”

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Milanic looks like having a few selection decisions to make when United return to action with young attacking midfielders Adryan and Chris Dawson staking their claims for a first team call-up with starring roles in a 6-0 win for the development side against Doncaster Rovers.

With Casper Sloth having failed to make an impact in the “number 10” role, their performance is certainly timely to give the new boss a nod that there are options.