Javi Gracia plays down role in Jack Harrison’s resurgence as key Leeds player

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Jack Harrison’s resurgence as a key playmaker for Leeds has had little to do with Javi Gracia, the club’s head coach insists.

Gracia has typically played down his role in the winger’s return to form under the Spaniard, which has helped give Leeds’ survival fight some momentum.

Harrison has emerged from a relatively non-productive spell since the turn of the year, scoring three goals in Leeds’ last four matches.

He has been involved in five of the Whites’ 10 goals scored in Gracia’s six league games in charge and on Thursday signed a new five-year contract at Elland Road.

When asked if he had had any special input since replacing Jesse Marsch in February, Gracia said: “Nothing different than others. I try to speak with all my players because it’s my job.

“I have to try to help them to improve their level. With the players that are playing more, maybe you speak more about the different actions in games.

“But I like to speak to all of them because all of them deserve my consideration. Then I try to take care of all my players the same way.

“Jack is keeping a high level, assisting, scoring, working a lot for the team and I think it’s in the level of the team, always with the desire to improve.”

Harrison appears to have put an unsettled period behind him. He had expected to complete a reported £20million move to Leicester on transfer deadline day in January before Leeds had a late change of heart.

The 26-year-old is one of several players to have thrived under Gracia, who has certainly steadied the ship by collecting 10 points from a possible 18 since he arrived.

Leeds aim for back-to-back league wins for just the second time this season on Sunday against Crystal Palace at home and Gracia said tactical changes have been implemented after collaboration with the players.

“Of course, it’s my job to take that decision, but of course we spoke something about it when I arrived at a new club,” the former Watford boss added.

“First thing for me is to know the characteristics of the players, their positions, where they prefer to play, and then after that I have to choose the best solution, the best shape, the best way to play.

“First of all is to know better my players and after speaking, after watching them in training sessions, after living with them in different experiences, I have to choose the best option.”

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