Leeds United: Mac insists he would do it all over again

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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Brian McDermott’s 53rd birthday was overshadowed by events surrounding Tuesday’s game at Watford and his first anniversary as Leeds United manager is also being lost in the whirlwind behind Massimo Cellino.

Brian McDermott’s 53rd birthday was overshadowed by events surrounding Tuesday’s game at Watford and his first anniversary as Leeds United manager is also being lost in the whirlwind behind Massimo Cellino.

McDermott will complete 12 months in the job tomorrow with no idea about how much longer his tenure at Elland Road will continue, but he claimed last night that he would have taken United’s offer this time last year even if the chaos ahead of him had been clear.

Leeds host Blackpool this weekend, their first home game with Cellino in the stands as president of the club.

Tomorrow is the start of a new era for United and the start of a new challenge for their Italian owner but in McDermott’s eyes, Cellino’s the takeover marks the end of a tough, unforgiving period.

He was advised by some of his colleagues in the game not to take the job at Leeds a year ago, and the messy attempt by Gulf Finance House to sell the club – not to mention United’s woeful form in the meantime – would suggest that those who warned him against coming to Elland Road were right.

But asked if he would make the same decision again, McDermott said: “A million percent, knowing what I know now. I’d still have taken the job.

“People did actually say to me ‘don’t take it.’ Then we got to December, we were fifth in the league, and I’m thinking ‘what are they talking about? This is great.’

“If the manager at this club was given a year, a season where nothing was untoward, it would be a great place. Let’s hope it happens.

Leeds have lost eight games in nine and need a win tomorrow to kill any threat of relegation from the Championship.

McDermott will be without Sam Byram and Jimmy Kebe but his squad is otherwise complete.

United have 47 points – nine clear of the bottom three – but McDermott refused to comment on how many his squad would need to be safe, saying: “I never answer that question. You’re only guessing, speculating. I don’t know.

“It’s not about that anyway. It’s about performing, getting results, turning things round. It’s about getting to the summer in a good place. We need to get off this run.

“We all need to step up and I don’t hide behind that.

“Every one of us needs to step up. That’s it, if you’re going to play for Leeds United – especially now.

“Because we’re not going to be talking about ownership, not today. That’s done and dusted.”

McDermott denied that his squad had “chucked the towel in” during a weak 3-0 loss at Vicarage Road on Tuesday – a match which Cellino watched from the stands – but he reminded his players that long-term involvement at Leeds was at stake with Cellino expected to make major changes to the playing staff this summer.

The coach of his Serie A club Cagliari, Diego Lopez, was sacked this week after four defeats from five – the 36th manager dismissed by Cellino in 22 years as owner in Sardinia.

“No-one’s chucked the towel in,” McDermott said. “The players are playing for their futures and the badge of Leeds United.

“That’s the reality of football. We know what football is in 2014 – it’s a results driven business.”

Leeds United head coach Thomas Christiansen.

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