Ollie Watkins: This is what Pontus Jansson has said to Brentford side ahead of clash v Leeds
Pontus Jansson was a cult hero at Leeds United.
His no-nonsense style and passion won the fans over as he ruled the Leeds penalty area with a rod of iron.
It was a shock when he moved to Brentford over the summer, the victim by all accounts of pushing Bielsa too far over coming back late for pre-season training.
But he’s still got the loyalty of fans, especially after coming to watch his former side play Arsenal in the FA Cup in January.
Brentford have surprised everyone this season and are pushing for automatic promotion themselves.
It will hurt that extra bit more if Leeds miss out on the top two to Brentford, with Jansson looking over his shoulder at us on his way to the Premier League.
Leeds travel to Griffin Park on Tuesday and while three points won’t define either side’s season, it will be a huge marker for Bielsa’s men.
As you might expect, Jansson has become a huge character at Brentford.
And Brentford striker Ollie Watkins revealed what the towering centre back has said to his side ahead of the match on Tuesday.
“Pontus the captain has been the main guy, he’s a great leader,” Watkins said on the Jim White Show (talkSPORT, Wednesday, 12pm).
“He said to us all, ‘Everyone, this is our best opportunity to do something special. The change of stadium, everything that’s happening, this is the only chance we’ve got as a group of players to change our lives.”
Jim White asked if Jansson had effected a change at Brentford and Watkins replied, “Yeah, he’s a big guy and the presence of him, when you see him, he’s a leader.
“I definitely feel we needed that with so many young players. It’s hard to ask a young player to step up and tell players what to do.
“He’s a really good character and it’s what we’ve missed for the last couple of years.”
Was it a mistake to get rid of Jansson?
Leeds fans certainly thought so at the time.
Ben White came in as his replacement and he was an unknown quantity at the start of the season.
However, after seeing him play, Leeds fans were won over and the consensus was that it was good business by the club.
However, the loss of Jansson has led to Leeds struggling with set pieces and the partnership of Liam Cooper and White has collapsed somewhat over the past few months.
Ben White, Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson would have given us the best of both worlds but unfortunately, Bielsa and the Swede couldn’t live together at Elland Road.
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