Brian McDermott said he had not given up hope of remaining as Leeds United’s manager with Massimo Cellino in two minds about whether McDermott will continue in his job next season.
McDermott is waiting to learn his fate after Leeds completed their Championship term with a 1-1 draw against Derby County, and Cellino refused to give the 53-year-old his unequivocal backing in the aftermath of Saturday’s game at Elland Road.
The Italian said he needed to be “100 per cent confident in my coach at the start of the season” but implied that the cost of replacing McDermott could persuade him to give the ex-Reading boss another chance. McDermott is 12 months into a three-year contract and Cellino, who bought a majority stake in Leeds a month ago and is working to pay off substantial debt, would incur a bill of more than £1m by sacking him before next season. United finished the 2013-14 campaign with three wins and a draw from five games, a late run which failed to lift the club higher than 15th in the league, but McDermott is hoping that a term ruined by ownership squabbles and woeful form since Christmas will not end his tenure.
A crowd of almost 30,000 turned out for the last match of the season and McDermott said: “Leeds United fans don’t give up. Leeds United’s manager won’t give up because of that.
“I haven’t given up and the players gave everything (against Derby). That’s a really good side we’ve played with a great manager who’s done a fantastic job.
“The things that have gone on here make you a better manager because you know you can tough situations out. I’ve certainly had to tough this out but there was never any doubt in my mind that I would tough it out and try to get us to the next stage.
“The next stage is the summer and building again. I might need to draw breath and find a bit of time but then I want to get on with things again.”
Cellino was at Elland Road on Saturday and attended the club’s player-of-the-year award ceremony later that night, playing a set with the Pigeon Detectives at the centenary pavilion.
The Italian will remain in England for most of this month and is focusing his attention on resolving the financial problems left behind by previous owner Gulf Finance House.
In an interview with the BBC, Cellino said: “I must be 100 per cent confident in my coach at the start of the season. I must have a coach who is very good on the field and helps me manage by choosing players.
“I’m looking for that and then when the season starts I must be sure – if it’s McDermott or anyone else – that we must not be insecure. We must be sure about what we are looking for.
“We are engaged (with McDermott) for two years of his contract and that’s important because we can’t waste money. I can’t just change manager and bring another cost to the club.”