A fired-up Brian McDermott described calls for him to resign as “a joke” after Charlton Athletic inflicted another morale-sapping defeat on Leeds United.
McDermott endured a 1-0 loss at Elland Road last night but then hit out at suggestions that he should leave his post in the wake of a sixth defeat in seven games.
The United manager, who learned before kick-off yesterday that he and his players would not receive deferred wages as agreed with the club, said continuing chaos behind the scenes left him “bordering on” resentment over pressure on him to step down.
McDermott is 10 days away from the end of his first year in the job at Elland Road but the strain of the job appeared to tell on him after a brilliant finish from Reza Ghoochannejhad earned Charlton a narrow win.
Asked what more he could do in his job, McDermott said: “Keep going. That’s all we can do.
“I’ve been in football 30-odd years and I’ve never experienced anything like this. I really haven’t.
“People are saying I should resign. Well actually, if people knew what’s gone on here and what I’ve gone through – to make that suggestion, they won’t be seeing me resigning. No way, absolutely no way. It’s a joke really when I think about it.
“If everything was right at the club then I could understand the sentiment. I probably wouldn’t be here and they (the owners) would have made a decision. But we don’t have that.”
Leeds and club owner Gulf Finance House are waiting anxiously on the outcome of Massimo Cellino’s appeal against a decision by the Football League to block his takeover of the club.
The struggle for ownership led to a shortage of cash at Leeds last week, and McDermott and his players agreed to defer 50 per cent of their pay for March until yesterday morning.
The money owed failed to appear, however, after the QC responsible for hearing Cellino’s appeal on Monday reserved judgement until a later date.
United managing director David Haigh spoke with United’s squad in the dressing room ahead of last night’s match.
McDermott said: “He gave an assurance. He didn’t say when (payment would be made) but he gave assurances that it will happen.”
United’s season has caved in badly amid GFH’s protracted attempt to sell the club to Cellino, and their defeat to Charlton was confirmed when captain Ross McCormack saw an injury-time penalty saved by Ben Hamer.
McDermott said: “It seems to sum up the place at the moment, both on and off the pitch.”