By Alex Stevens
Pontus Jansson was axed by Garry Monk to send out the message that no Leeds player is bigger than the club, according to a report.
The Yorkshire Evening Post claim the intensity of the team’s preparation lay behind Jansson’s shock omission from the starting XI for Saturday’s 2-0 Championship win against Brighton.
It is said that manager Monk asserted himself amid question marks over the possible complacency of the Sweden international.
While the Yorkshire Evening Post recognise that the “full story will probably never be told” about why a fit and available Jansson was benched at the expense of the error-prone Liam Cooper, there were enough hints to suggest Monk was making it abundantly clear that the team comes before any individual.
Monk refused to go into details about the omission of the 26-year-old, simply stating that he saw it as the best decision for the team on the day.
“What has been said is that Monk’s preparation at Thorp Arch last week was especially intense; a demand for urgency embraced by players who saw Brighton as a critical game,” the report read.
“Cooper’s inclusion looks good for Monk because a brave statement came at no cost. It left no doubt about who is running this team.
“Monk spoke repeatedly about ‘principles’ in response to questions about Jansson’s absence. There was no mention of fitness, fatigue or yellow cards.
“Was Jansson too complacent or too sure of his place? Did Cooper’s approach to a hard stint of training convince Monk to assert himself and make a point? The full story, such as it is, will probably never be told.
“Whatever the motivation for that decision, the message is clear: there are no sacred cows under Monk, only a level field.”
Jansson, who is on international duty with Sweden this week, has refrained from taking the opportunity to have a public dig at the Leeds manager and, instead, gave a ringing endorsement of the 38-year-old’s management skills in an interview on Monday and how he had improved as a player this season.
The defender has been a mainstay of Leeds’ promotion-chasing side, starting 28 of their 38 Championship matches since joining from Torino initially on a season-long loan.
Such has been his impact that he has already agreed to join Leeds on a permanent deal at the end of the season, having already signed a three-year contract.
Jansson will be pushing hard for a recall when the promotion hopefuls, who rose to fourth in the Championship following their win over Brighton, are next in action against Reading on Saturday of next week.
In other Leeds team news, the Yorkshire giants are in shock talks to sign a Liverpool attacking player.