Leeds United: Mac under cosh as Cellino takes over

Massimo Cellino sits with manager Brian McDermott.
Massimo Cellino sits with manager Brian McDermott.
Have your say

Massimo Cellino arrived in Leeds last night to take immediate and hands-on control at Elland Road with Brian McDermott’s future high on the agenda after a sorry beating at Watford.

Massimo Cellino arrived in Leeds last night to take immediate and hands-on control at Elland Road with Brian McDermott’s future high on the agenda after a sorry beating at Watford.

Cellino was confirmed as Leeds United’s new owner yesterday afternoon but his reign began in an inauspicious style a few hours later as McDermott’s side lost 3-0 at Vicarage Road.

The Italian had given McDermott his tentative backing prior to the game, saying he wanted to let the former Reading boss prove himself during the rest of the season, but United were beaten for the eighth time in nine games last night after three soft concessions.

A frustrated Cellino left the stadium immediately after full-time and travelled straight to Yorkshire with the intention of descending on Elland Road this morning and beginning work on his new and stricken investment.

Leeds announced annual losses of £9.5million for the 2012-13 financial year yesterday, placing the challenge ahead of Cellino in stark focus, and the squad’s woeful form has sucked the club to within eight points of the Championship’s relegation zone.

United are likely to be saved by the small number of remaining games and the glut of other clubs beneath them in the table but McDermott’s already fragile hold on his job was weakened again by a tame defeat to Watford.

McDermott, who marked his 53rd birthday yesterday, said: “It’s not good, it’s really not good, and I’ve got to find a way to get 11 characters out on that pitch.

“We need to get a result from somewhere.

“I feel that we’re all letting each other down at the moment. The ownership is now resolved, it’s sorted, so that’s not an issue anymore.

“I spoke to Massimo before the game – he’s an ambitious man and he wants to do well. That’s not the sort of performance he’d want to see.

“We’re not getting the details right.

“Everyone’s playing for their future in my opinion and of course I’m under pressure.

“Results suggest that. We’re all in a situation where it depends on who wants to be here next season. Because this guy (Cellino) has a lot of clout. He’ll have watched that tonight and he’ll have been bitterly disappointed with it.”

Asked if he was encouraged by Cellino’s suggestion that he will remain as manager at least until the season finishes in five games’ time, McDermott said: “It’s the owners’ prerogative to do what he wants to do.

“I’m not in a strong position because of the results we’ve had.

“I had half-an-hour with him before the game but he didn’t give me any assurances.

“We talked about the game. He doesn’t have to give me assurances and I wouldn’t expect any.

“When you’re a manager and you’ve had a run of results like we’ve had, you certainly are under pressure. That’s pretty obvious.”

After completing his deal earlier in the day, Cellino said he wouldn’t have let United go into administration.

“We have losses and we have to pay them. I thought the losses were less but it is OK,” he said. “We have to stop wasting money that is not ours. The club has a little illness at the moment but it is not in the hospital.”

Norman Hunter clears the ball for Bristol City on their visit to Elland Road to face his former club Leeds United in March 1978. The Robins won 2-0, giving them the double over the Whites having won 3-2 at Ashton Gate the previous October. Picture: Laurie Mercer.

Flashback - Bristol City v Leeds United - When Whites legend Norman Hunter rocked his former club