Leeds United’s new head coach, Thomas Christiansen, is excited by the challenge of steering the club back into the Premier League.
The former APOEL manager Christiansen, 44, who has signed a two-year contract with an option for a third, was formally introduced at Elland Road on Monday.
Christiansen is Leeds’ eighth manager since May 2014 last Thursday.
Julio Banuelos has followed him from APOEL to be his assistant at Elland Road, with Ivan Torres installed as fitness coach and Marcos Abad as goalkeeping coach.
Christiansen succeeds Garry Monk who suddenly quit the club last month and has since been installed as Middlesbrough’s new manager, guided APOEL to the last 16 of the Europa League and their domestic league title in his only season in charge, but his 12-month contract was not renewed.
APOEL won Cyprus’ first division by four points, their fifth title in a row. The club – by some distance the biggest and most expectant in Cyprus – lost to Copenhagen in the preliminary stages of the Champions League but won their Europa League group ahead of Olympiacos and advanced to the last 16 for the first time in their history, eliminating Athletic Bilbao in the process. Anderlecht eventually ended APOEL’s run over two legs in March
They were beaten in the Cypriot cup final by Apollon Limassol last month but according to the local media, the decision to part company with Christiansen had been reached prior to that game. Some reports cited a disagreement over his contract while others said APOEL’s board had been unhappy with performances as his team flagged in the latter stages of the term.
“I’m very excited and believe we can do good things here,” Christiansen said. “I believe in my possibilities. This is why I’m here and Leeds also believes in my abilities and we all want the same.
“Last year we finished seventh. At least the promotion should be there and of course we hope to do better.”
Christiansen impressed the club’s owner Andrea Radrizzani and the director of football Victor Orta with a presentation during his interview last week in Madrid.
“The most important is that you know where you’re going, what you want to do in the new club and have an idea of work, that was what I presented,” Christiansen said. “My ideas, how I saw the team, what I want to do and that was in the presentation and it looks like they liked it.
“I’m in a big club with ambition and also one of the things that inspired me to come here after having a talk with Victor and the chairman, it’s a big club which deserves and has to be in the Premier League.
“I believe with good work we can achieve that. Since I was a boy I’ve followed the English league and know how they play and how they have advanced.”