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Javi Gracia outlines key Rasmus Kristensen conversation he had before return to Leeds United line-up

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Javi Gracia has praised the performance of Rasmus Kristensen at centre-back despite Leeds United falling to a 2-0 defeat and FA Cup exit at the hands of Fulham last night.

Leeds were unfortunate to lose out at Craven Cottage with long-range efforts from Joao Palhinha and Manor Solomon settling the game. Gracia was also irritated to see Georginio Rutter’s goal at 0-0 chalked off for a Weston McKennie foul.

Over the course of 90 minutes, Leeds managed 16 shots on the Fulham goal and made Marek Rodak work on six occasions. At the other end, Fulham were limited to only three shots on target, all from outside the penalty area.

Did Kristensen impress at centre-back for Leeds?

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: Willian of Fulham runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Rasmus Kristensen of Leeds United during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Fulham and Leeds United at Craven Cottage on February 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Gracia rolled the dice with his Leeds selection, making four changes in total.

Georginio Rutter and Crysencio Summerville came into the attacking unit, whilst Marc Roca was drafted into midfield. Kristensen also got the nod, replacing Max Wober in the back-four.

This season we’ve seen him play at right-back with Luke Ayling shifting inside at centre-back, yet Gracia opted to keep his full-backs where they’d played at the weekend, dropping Kristensen in alongside Robin Koch.

“I think Rasmus played really well. I spoke with him before the game to tell him I wanted him to play in that position. He agreed and he said he would play where the team needs him and this is a very good professional, putting the team before himself. I think he played well, he is very focused, he was concentrated on the game and in my opinion he was well.“

Gracia on Kristensen, as quoted by Leeds Live.

Leeds turn attention back to the Premier League on Saturday when they head to Chelsea.

The big updated Rasmus Kristensen quiz – Can Leeds United fans score 20/20?

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In what year was Rasmus Kristensen born?

There was very little wrong with Leeds’ defensive performance yesterday, with all their back-four playing reasonably well.

Kristensen was out of position but he did a job alongside Koch, allowing Ayling to keep building on his recent outings at right-back.

Whilst that’s not the Denmark international’s best position, it’s a role he can play and it’s good to see that he put his hand up to do a job for Gracia.

Whether it’s a tactic Leeds will lean on long-term remains to be seen, but as little disruption as possible in defence appeared to do the trick yesterday. That might be the way forwards now after years of square pegs in round holes and a lack of defensive consistency.

Was 2-0 Fulham a fair result?





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Leeds United Season Ticket Holder at Elland Road for over 20 seasons. Currently nestled in N12, but occasionally offering views from the press box. We’ve been through it all together? You bet.