Brian McDermott refused to discuss the security of his job as Leeds United manager in the wake of a 5-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers which provoked an outburst from Massimo Cellino.
Cellino – the Italian businessman who is on the verge of a 75 per cent takeover at Leeds – described United’s players as “chickens” and “without pride” after sitting through a heavy loss on Saturday.
The Football League is still deciding whether to approve Cellino’s £25m buy-out and the governing body plans to discuss the matter at a board meeting on Thursday. But Cellino, who tried to sack McDermott on the last day of the January transfer window, piled pressure on the squad at Leeds with a scathing appraisal of their display on Saturday. “We didn’t even try to play and they made the fans ashamed,” Cellino said. “The players p****d me off because they didn’t fight for the club. For what they did, I would kick their a***s one by one. They are guilty. They were without pride and should be ashamed of themselves. They are chickens.”
He defended McDermott, however, saying: “I’d like to support him. We talk about Cellino and McDermott but this was about the players.”
McDermott quickly turned his attention to tomorrow’s home game against Reading, the side who hold the Championship’s last play-off place and have an eight-point lead over United.
The Leeds boss said the performance against Bolton was “not acceptable” but declined to speak about his future, saying: “I don’t think there’s any point me thinking about my own position. It’s pointless. The only thing that I can do is to get everyone together again and put out a team for Tuesday. That’s all I can do and it’s all I will do. We want to get the fans back on board.”
A crowd of close to 29,000 at Elland Road showed their frustration throughout a second half in which Bolton scored four times.
McDermott said: “We have a responsibility as professional people because we get paid to produce the goods, whoever we are – managers, coaches, players.”