THOMAS Christiansen was pleased to avoid a repeat of Leeds' recent home fixture against Derby as they earned a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa on Friday night.

Sam Winnall scored two second-half goals as the Rams come from behind to win 2-1 at Elland Road in late October.

This time Pontus Jansson gave Leeds an early advantage and although Henri Lansbury equalised off the bench, the hosts were able to dig in for a point.

Christiansen said: "I'm very satisfied with the performance and have told the players that it was cleverness to understand that when you have difficulty to win a game, at least you don't lose it."

"This is the difference between the team we had one month ago and the team we have now. That performance makes me feel confident that we can compete with the top six."

The Leeds manager also allayed fears over the muscle problem that forced Pablo Hernandez off during Friday night's game.

Villa boss Steve Bruce felt the hard-fought match at Elland Road underlined just how tough the Championship is.

"Leeds United against Aston Villa would grace any league," he said.

"People think the Championship is a doddle, especially if you've been in the Premier League. But there's two teams that have come down this year that are in the bottom five.

"I'm under no illusions how difficult it is even for a club like Leeds or Villa. But both teams are very decent and in a good position to threaten the top end of the division."

Bruce hopes midfielder Lansbury can prove his Championship quality after his return from injury.

Lansbury joined the club from Nottingham Forest in January but had struggled to make an impact before a troublesome knee problem sidelined him in mid-September.

The 27-year-old was introduced midway through the second half at Elland Road and made up for lost time by cancelling out Jansson's opener with a well-struck equaliser from 20 yards.

"I'm delighted because he's had an awful knee and worked hard over the last two, three weeks," said Bruce.

"It hasn't gone as well for him at the club as everybody expected and then he picks up this awful knee injury which has kept him out for weeks. But the last couple of weeks in particular he has looked more like H again.

"We all know he's a good player at this level and hopefully he's found his feet and that'll give him a little bit of confidence. He looked a very good player when he came on."

Villa went into the clash in fourth place after three straight wins and, although that run was ended by Leeds, Bruce saw positive signs from his side.

"We know it's never going to be easy coming here and their tails are up a bit in front of 30-odd thousand," he said.

"The two lads who came on gave us a spark. I thought (Jack) Grealish and Lansbury gave us that little bit of impetus and that's important.

"We've missed them. They've both had big injuries and it's good to see them back.

"When it's a bit like that, especially in December, it's good to rely on people who can turn a game around.

"The most important thing for me was the response – 12 months ago we weren't getting it. We were just, 'ah well, we're behind again, ok we'll just roll over and get beat'. I think we're improving."