Leeds United v Reading: Fans due a performance

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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Brian McDermott insists he fully understands fans’ criticism aimed at him after Saturday’s shambolic loss to Bolton – and admits he and his Leeds United side owe supporters ‘big time’ this evening.

Brian McDermott insists he fully understands fans’ criticism aimed at him after Saturday’s shambolic loss to Bolton – and admits he and his Leeds United side owe supporters ‘big time’ this evening.

United host McDermott’s former club Reading at Elland Road tonight, a year to the day since he lost his job at the Berkshire club.

After a run of just two victories in 14 matches in all competitions, McDermott is coming under fire from sections of the Whites support and will take the criticism that goes with that firmly on the chin.

His sole concern remains manufacturing a winning response combined with a much-improved performance against the Royals, with United seeking to end a poor run at Elland Road, which has seen them win once in their past seven outings.

McDermott was offered support by prospective new owner Massimo Cellino following the horror 5-1 Roses’ reverse to Bolton, with the Italian instead rounding on United’s players, who he described as “chickens” following their insipid second-half display.

Cellino and managing director David Haigh – who has announced he has left United’s parent company GFH Capital – both spoke to the 52-year-old by phone in the aftermath of the heavy weekend trouncing, with the conversations good ones, according to McDermott.

But equally, McDermott is willing to take on board his share of the flak from fans for the weekend defeat.

On copping criticism, the United chief – who will make changes to his line-up tonight in a bid to find a winning formula again – said: “Listen, I understand that. When you get beat 5-1 at home, you are going to get a situation like that.

“It’s something I understand and what being a football manager is like. That will be the same at any football club.

“When you get a result like Saturday, you get criticised. You have to take that criticism on the chin. When you do well, you get praise – if you get a result and performance like Saturday, you get criticised.

“I understand the fans reaction and how they are feeling completely. But all we can is try and get the right performance and result on Tuesday; that’s it.

“We owe the fans big-time. For the fans that travel and turn up and pay their money, we owe them. You don’t want a performance like Saturday and we’ve had two or three this year, which have been embarrassing. For a manager, it’s a horrible situation.”

He added: “As a manager, you are responsible. We absolutely know that. But there’s been an awful lot of stuff that has been going on which hasn’t been helpful and useful. But people aren’t interested in that. They are just interested in results.

“The more games you win, the better the chance of having longevity. That’s the same for any manager.

“It’s a great job (at Leeds), it really is. I have been consistent in that. People say it’s a tough job, but it’s a really, really great job and you want to be the manager who gets it right and I certainly want to be the manager who gets it right here.

“I can’t do anything about what has gone on. All we can do now is play the next game. I don’t want to talk about it (Bolton) so much; what’s the point in talking about what has gone on in the past. The only thing we can do is try and get a result, get the result and make it up to the fans.”

McDermott admits his players and all of his staff are all hurting following the events of Saturday, with the only crumb of comfort following such a desperate day being that they have such a quick turn-around ahead of tonight’s encounter and chance to get back in supporters’ good books.

McDermott added: “I am glad we have got the game so quickly and I am looking forward to it.

“It’s really important we get back on board on Tuesday.

“The players are hurting, of course they hurt. We are all hurting, the fans, the staff and the players and I am hurting. We want to put it right.

“I got a good phone call from David Haigh and a very good phone call from Massimo Cellino as well.

“We are all paid to get results - I understand how it works. We are in the results business and at this moment in time, we are not getting the results. We want to try and get a result, that’s it in a nutshell.

“The funny thing is we have still got 44 points and if we can get on a run, we can still do something this season. But it’s just talk - I am sat here just talking. All I can do is try and get that right result and performance on Tuesday and I have picked a team to do that.

“It’s a good bunch of players and men for this game, so let’s see what happens.”

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture by Simon Hulme

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