Daniel Farke has already responded to Leeds United Championship points history revelation

DEFICIT OVERCOMER - Leeds United manager Daniel Farke twice had slow starts to a Championship season with Norwich City and on both occasions lifted the trophy at the end of the season. Pic: Matthew Lewis/Getty
DEFICIT OVERCOMER - Leeds United manager Daniel Farke twice had slow starts to a Championship season with Norwich City and on both occasions lifted the trophy at the end of the season. Pic: Matthew Lewis/Getty

Farke himself referenced his experience with regards to Leeds' slow start as the manager and the Elland Road hierarchy grappled with the most convoluted of transfer windows to build a final squad.

The Whites won just one of their opening five games, but Farke was not unduly concerned having been there before. In the 2018/19 season, when he led Norwich City to the title Farke's opening six fixtures yielded just a single victory.

His second Championship trophy came in 2021, despite winning just one of the first four league fixtures and losing two of them.

"I had also this experience with Norwich," he said recently after a 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

"The first time we were promoted with a club record season, over 90 points and a brilliant, brilliant season - after the same amount of games with less points than we have today. Teemu Pukki was praised as outstanding player of the league and with nearly 30 goals, I think he was just there with zero goals at this point. So I'm experienced to know it's a long season, you don't have to be where you want to be after five game days or after 10 game days."

Farke's message is one he need not repeat right now in the wake of a 3-1 defeat by Southampton because only nine game days have passed, but it is worth bearing in mind. The Championship season is long and wildly unpredictable - who saw the St Mary's result coming after all - and so much could happen to confound the starts of numerous teams.

The table has not yet reached a particularly instructive stage with nine games played, so Leeds' position of ninth and their 13-point haul can not be considered barriers to success.

What can be said, however, is that for Farke to earn a third Championship title or even just automatic promotion through a runners-up placing, Leeds are going to have to go into territory that no one, not even their manager, has had to walk in the past 10 years.

The gap to leaders Leicester City, right now, stands at 11 points. Leeds' tally of 13 points puts them nine back from second-placed Ipswich Town.

Over the past decade none of the automatically promoted teams had to overcome a deficit as big as the one Leeds are looking at, with this many games played.

There are examples of teams making a similarly-paced start to the season and still going up while avoiding the play-offs. Last season Burnley had 14 points after nine games and went on to earn 101. Farke's Norwich had 14 from nine in the 2018/19 season. The crucial difference in each of those examples, however, is that the Clarets were only six points off the top spot and just two away from second place, while Norwich were four points off the leaders, who just so happened to be Leeds United.

A more promising precedent comes in the form of 2014/15 second tier champions Bournemouth. With nine game days on the board they had racked up 12 points, making them the only automatic qualifier of the last 10 years to sit on a lower tally than Leeds have right now. What's more, they were in 14th place and had an eight-point deficit to make up to the leaders.

What the Cherries demonstrated that season was two-fold. Firstly, things can change very quickly in this division - they were top by the first week in November. And secondly, a promotion charge is built on runs. They put together a 14-game stretch without a defeat and then ended the campaign on another undefeated run of 13 games in length. As Leeds proved under Marcelo Bielsa and Norwich did under Farke, momentum is absolutely key.

What the last 10 years of the Championship also tells us is that this season's front runners have set off at lightning-quick pace.

Only one of those 10 seasons could boast a side with more points than the 22 gathered by current second-place holders Ipswich after nine games, which shows just how impressive the newly-promoted side have been under Kieran McKenna and casts a glowing light on Leeds' Portman Road victory.

The exclamation mark is provided by Leicester and a 24-point haul that beats the very best of the past decade's nine-game totals. The Foxes are flying and have already built an eight-point lead over fourth placed Sunderland.

The gap is there, it's sizeable but how much you mind it is really down to you.

If your glass is half full then you raise it to Jamie Vardy and co and content yourself that no one's start can compare with what Enzo Maresca has done so far and in any case, nine of the last 10 champions had a deficit to overcome by this stage. Neither Maresca or McKenna have been here and done it before in the Championship and they will face challenges, including their own blips and dips in form. Squad depth, at Ipswich in particular, will come under scrutiny as the division takes its toll and the promotion bounce might not carry beyond the mid-winter.

Those whose glass is half empty will throw back its contents and fret over the work that will have to be done to catch the Foxes or overtake the Tractor Boys and the fact that this is a Leeds team still getting to know itself, its component parts and how it is meant to work.

Farke, by his own admission, is happy to have the table conversation if it crops up but it won't be going on in his head this week as he prepares Leeds for Queens Park Rangers at home.

"The key at Norwich, twice, was we never looked or obsessed over the table," he said.

"Not scared of it and we were able to discuss it, but we never obsessed over it. The table took care of itself. We just focused on performances. On an unbelievable run with them, club records, great feeling, but the secret was not speaking too much about ambitions or where we want to be. Only concentrating on where we want to be in two or three days.

"Nobody started to play football wondering about the table, TV money, next season, no no, we want to go out and it's us against the others. We want to win games."