Rasmus Kristensen got his just deserts on Saturday afternoon, according to Javi Gracia, after bagging his first goal for Leeds United in the Whites’ 4-2 win over Wolves. The Denmark international hasn’t always found life easy in the Premier League following his summer move to West Yorkshire from Red Bull Salzburg.
Form and consistency have been difficult to come by and he has made just two league appearances since the turn of the year after becoming rooted behind Luke Ayling in the pecking order at Elland Road. He did feature under Gracia in the FA Cup defeat to Fulham last month, but Saturday’s outing was his first in the top flight for the Spaniard.
However, it didn’t take him long to mark it in the best way possible, arriving at the back post to drill home Leeds’ third just a few seconds after replacing Wilfried Gnonto in the 61st minute at Molineux. He had to show tenacity and determination to outmuscle Jonny and engineer the space to shoot, but he took the goal with the confidence of a striker.
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Gracia was obviously delighted to see his substitute have such an immediate impact on the game, but he also believes Kristensen’s goal was a fitting return for the work he has seen from him at Thorp Arch over the last month.
"I am especially happy for him because as I said before, as I said this week, Ras deserved that reward because he is always working, we saw him with a smile on his face,” the head coach said after the game.
“He's always trying to help the rest of the players, the rest of the team, he is something that like a manager you are always happy with these kind of players because they are very generous and always thinking in the team, not for himself."
The right-back has joined up with the Denmark squad this week as they begin their qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 2024 with games against Finland and Kazakhstan. However, Gracia will be keen to see him kick on upon his return to Leeds, with his first goal in United colours potentially acting as a catalyst.
Kristensen has work to do if he is to supplant Ayling in the starting XI, but he may well have a key role to play for the Whites in their battle against the drop.
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