Leeds United v West Brom: No excuses or 'cuddles' from Daniel Farke who tells his players not to 'crack under pressure' amid testing Championship time

Leeds United chief Daniel Farke. (Photo: Contributed)
Leeds United chief Daniel Farke. (Photo: Contributed)

The above phrase is likely to chime with Leeds United manager Daniel Farke amid a turbulent summer so far with the German having effectively found himself in the eye of a storm.

A mass raft of departures of senior players due to contractual clauses has been compounded not just by the fact that three others in Willy Gnonto, Luis Sinisterra and Helder Costa are currently ostracised from the main training group and don’t want to play, but other factors too.

United's current injury absentee count is also high, while they have endured travails in the transfer market.

Farke is confident things will change ahead of the summer deadline in a fortnight's time with release clauses in the contracts of some remaining players having also expired. For now, they must batten down the hatches and fight on.

Commendably, the 46-year-old - seeking a relieving maiden Championship win in charge of United against West Brom this evening - is not feeling sorry for himself.

He is making the best of a difficult situation and he will not tolerate any of his players looking for excuses either.

The former Norwich City chief will also be minded to recall his time at Carrow Road when the Canaries shrugged off modest starts to the season to come on strong when it mattered and secure promotion in 2018-19 and 2020-21.

No two scenarios are the same of course. But it at least suggests that Farke can cope with adversity and be trusted to. His players must also.

He said: "I have not just written a book where I can just read it and say: 'ok it works in this way.'

"You always have to react because each and every situation is slightly different. But experience also helps from similar situations.

"Openness and honesty is one point, but the second thing is that you stick to your principles and rules and don't crack under pressure.

"You stick to your values and don't let the standard drop in training and say: 'ok it's a difficult situation, I could do with perhaps not being focused in training and with a bit less work-load.

"I set the bar for our values at an unbelievably high mark. You need to show steel and resilience at this moment. At least, that's my way to handle such a situation.

"It's not like they get a cuddle each and every day and my arms around their shoulders.

"Yes, it's quite normal at times, but they are professional footballers and lead a privileged life. They (should) want a lot of work and this is how we want to go with the group."

Should United's players, particularly their less experienced ones, get through this sticky period, then it should stand them in good stead in terms of their careers.

A step in the right direction against Albion, whose head coach Carlos Corberan was considered for the Leeds job in early summer, might just help in that regard.

Farke continued: "As a young player, you always learn from each and every situation.

"If I am honest, I could have also done with developing young players without such a contractual situation (with certain players). But each and every experience always helps.

"Under these circumstances, they can sometimes grow. But it's also important right now that step by step, we get a bit more certainty within the group and calmness.

"Because I think an atmosphere where young players can concentrate on football and develop in football terms (helps) and I am looking forward to having a bit more of a quiet time."

That is only likely to arrive in early September when the transfer window has closed and the first international break of 2023-24 begins. Only then will Farke truly know what he is working with.

Leeds have three league matches before then and if they can find themselves around mid-table by the close of play on September 2, it would represent a decent enough achievement in the circumstances.