For the good of Leeds, Jansson needs to tone it down
By Ian Hunt
The queue for the Pontus Jansson admiration society grows by the week.
Hero and cult hero combined, the centre-back added to his legions of followers with the dramatic header on Wednesday night that ensured another last-gasp win for a side who are making a wonderful habit of such skin-of-the-teeth triumphs.
It was a case of perfect place, perfect time for Jansson as he secured the three points for his team with a critical finish as Leeds once again delved into their box of set-piece tricks to kill off Blackburn after a dreary match at Ewood Park exploded in an unforeseen way and produced three goals in the final 15 minutes.
Pablo Hernandez hung a corner onto the giant Swede’s head and Jansson did the rest from an unmissable range.
The celebrations from the 6,000 away following were wild and fierce, typified by the effervescent Jansson, whose heart-on-the-sleeve style is never more apparent than when he explodes with joy at scoring.
The Ewood Park clash provided further evidence of why Leeds are headed for the play-offs, and also why Jansson is not quite the 6ft 5in model of centre-back perfection that some of his followers would have you believe.
His ultra-committed, fiercely competitive, never-yield-an-inch style is intoxicating, his tackling is mostly surgical and aerial power immense while the mouthy swearing adds to terrace hero persona.
Nevertheless, there is a sense that Jansson needs to tone it down bit.
That will meet with chortles from Leeds die-hards, who have watched so many mediocre players go through the motions over the last 13 years spent in the lower leagues.
But Jansson has accumulated almost as many bookings as he has admirers this season. Just a week after completing a two-match automatic suspension for hitting the 10-booking mark for the season, the 25-year-old received his 11th yellow card of the campaign against Blackburn. It was also his fourth in five matches.
Someone on the Elland Road coaching staff must have a quiet word with Jansson, and urge him to channel his aggression and natural physicality more sensibly. For the good of the team.
Were Jansson to rack up another four cautions and reach the 15-booking mark, the punishment would be even more severe, with a three-match ban the automatic result.
That would be careless in the extreme. It is also avoidable.
Leeds did not sign another centre-back in January, meaning that they are reliant on key duo Kyle Bartley and Jansson remaining available for selection, with error-prone Liam Cooper their only senior cover.
Another suspension for Jansson could have a seriously detrimental effect on the team’s play-off hopes.
The Swede needs to rein it in a bit.