Pontus Jansson fell in love with Leeds, admits Brentford boss Thomas Frank

The Swedish defender spent three years at Elland Road.
Brentford’s Pontus Jansson will rekindle his love affair with Leeds on Sunday (John Walton/PA)

Brentford’s Pontus Jansson will rekindle his love affair with Leeds on Sunday (John Walton/PA)

By Damian Spellman, PA

Brentford’s Pontus Jansson will rekindle a love affair with Leeds when he returns to his former club as a Premier League player.

The 30-year-old former Malmo and Torino central defender spent three years at Elland Road before joining the Bees in 2019, but had left by the time the West Yorkshire club finally made it back into the top flight.

However, he will run out to face Leeds on Sunday having played his part in Brentford’s elevation at the end of last season.

Head coach Thomas Frank said of his captain: “I think he’s looking forward to it. He always praises Leeds massively, that was a fantastic time in his career to be there.

“I don’t know if it’s important, but I think he actually fell in love a couple of times in his life: in Malmo, of course, then Leeds and now Brentford, so I don’t know if he is speaking to his wife how he is going to explain that one.

“He’s a man that is capable of having a lot of love in him and I think that is fantastic. For him in some ways, it’s a special feeling to go on the pitch even more than the first time in the Championship because he wanted badly to get promoted with Leeds.

“For whatever reason, it didn’t happen and now it’s happened with Brentford, both teams are in the Premier League, so hopefully it’s just going to be a very, very nice occasion.”

Frank too is relishing his trip north to lock horns once again with Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, a man he has admired from afar since his days as Denmark’s Under-16s coach, and whose endorsement during an earlier meeting he treasures.

He said: “For me, Bielsa is the big inspiration. He’s been that for my whole coaching career.

“The first time I really looked into it was in 2007-08 when he was the head coach for Chile, and they had exactly the same style as they have now at Leeds, and he was a big inspiration.

“I tried to incorporate some of the principles to my Under-16s national team – poor lads, because they just had to run a lot.

“It was for me a personal big moment when I faced him in a game because he’s one of the greatest in terms of developing football.

“When he said to me before a game that we were a team that was well set up offensively and defensively, that my players knew what they had to do – he could see that – that meant a lot to me.”

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