Leeds United: Bamba: United are 'all over the place'

Captain Sol Bamba described Leeds United as 'all over the place' and called on the club to clarify the future of head coach Steve Evans and their plans for the summer after the season ended in a 1-1 draw at Preston North End.
Steve Evans at the end of the match against Preston.Steve Evans at the end of the match against Preston.
Steve Evans at the end of the match against Preston.

In an outspoken interview, reminiscent of remarks made by him a year ago, Bamba bemoaned the doubt hanging over Evans’ job and said United’s players were going their separate ways for the summer with no idea about who will manage them next season or when they are due to report for pre-season training.

Evans took charge of his 38th game as Leeds boss at Deepdale on Saturday, finishing the game in tears as he took applause from an away crowd of more than 5,000.

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The 53-year-old admitted he had little expectation of securing an extension to his short-term deal as head coach, despite believing in the early part of last week that his contract might be renewed for the 2016-17 campaign.

Owner Massimo Cellino, who was not present at Saturday’s Championship match, has held off on clarifying Evans’ fate during the run-in and Evans said his “gut feeling” was telling him that Cellino would move to replace him shortly.

Bamba voiced sympathy for Evans, saying the former Rotherham United manager had “worked under extremely difficult circumstances and done very well” and hinted at frustration in the dressing over what he called an “annoying” failure by Leeds to offer them a blueprint for the summer ahead.

“Steve deserves a lot of credit because he’s worked under extremely difficult circumstances and he’s done very well,” Bamba said. “If this is his last game then obviously we wish him all the best but we will be sad. We have to wait and see but we like him.

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“We don’t know any more. We’re going to go away on holiday and receive a text to let us know when we need to come back and who’s going to be the manager. It’s not ideal because we don’t know when we are coming back, which is annoying.

People think sometimes that we just need to go on the pitch and play football but it’s a lot more than that. We need to know. Let’s be honest, if we know who’s going to be the manager then we can prepare better definitely.

“Even the medical staff, if they know who’s coming they can meet him and prepare because pre-season is the most important thing in the season. If you have a good pre season then you’ve got a good chance to have a good season.

“At the minute we’re all over the place but hopefully that can be fixed pretty quick.”

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Bamba made similar remarks after the final game of the 2014-15 season, speaking out about the lack of organisation at Leeds at a time when Cellino was close to completing his first Football League ownership ban.

The Frenchman, who later joined United on a permanent deal from Palermo despite openly criticising Cellino, said Leeds had suffered in the past nine months from a lack of consistency, resulting in a 13th-placed finish in the Championship.

“It’s difficult to put a word on this season,” Bamba said, “There have been ups and downs like we know happens in Leeds but overall it’s a disappointing season.

“But we’ll take it because at the start of the season we had one manager (Uwe Rosler) and then 12 games later we had another (Evans). Unfortunately we have to deal with it but I think the key in any success is consistency. If you have that then you’ve got a chance.

“I think everyone can see that we clearly lack that and that’s what needs to be adjusted. If it happens then I think we have the chance to do something good.”