The new season of the English Championship kicked off last weekend, with a few notable performances and results. Here are five things we learned.
Lampard learns size of task ahead
Derby County manager Frank Lampard was the picture of pure elation when his side scored a very late winner against Reading in the opening match of the Championship season on Friday night. The former Chelsea midfielder did however acknowledge that the Rams were lucky to snatch the three points after they struggled to impress for most parts of the game.
If there had been any doubt about the size of the task ahead, Lampard must now surely have a much clearer picture of what needs to be done.
Biesla lays down gauntlet
Marcelo Biesla has made a huge impression since taking over as Leeds United manager this summer. The former Athletic Bilbao boss is widely considered as one of the brightest brains in football management in Europe and he seems to be working his magic at Elland Road already. The 63-year old Argentine has restored order and instilled a work ethic in the team and this was evident as they brushed Stoke City aside in a 3-1 win yesterday.
Biesla was famously branded by Pep Guardiola as the best manager in the world last year, and the whole Championship is now aware of him and will be out to stop him in his tracks.
Tough start for teams relegated from Premier League
Swansea City were the only team out of the three who were relegated from the Premier League last season who managed to eke out a win on the opening weekend of the Championship, a late 2-1 win over Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon. Stoke fell to Leeds and West Bromwich lost 2-1 at home to Bolton Wanderers. If this start is anything to go by, the three teams have their work cut out for them if they are to make a quick return to the top flight.
Middlesbrough already miss Gibson
Ben Gibson missed Middlesbrough’s 2-2 draw at Millwall on Saturday, as he prepared to complete a £15m move to Burnley. The Riverside club were loath to sell their highly-rated English centre-back, and it was clear to see why as they struggled at the back without him. Former Bristol City man Aden Flint made his debut in Gibson’s place and gifted Millwall a goal that put Boro down 2-0, although they eventually fought back to secure the draw.
McCLaren has tough start at QPR
Steve McCLaren’s reign as Queens Park Rangers’ manager started with a 1-0 loss to Preston North End. The former England national team manager blamed the result on a lack of commensurate experience to their rivals. For a manager of his stature, that kind of argument will not hold water for too long and he will need to start delivering results soon.