Leeds United: Tearful Steve Evans expects to depart Elland Road

An emotional Steve Evans appeared to admit defeat in his battle to retain the head coach's job at Leeds United after the club's season ended with a 1-1 draw with Preston North End.
Steve Evans salutes Leeds United's away crowd at Preston.Steve Evans salutes Leeds United's away crowd at Preston.
Steve Evans salutes Leeds United's away crowd at Preston.

Evans broke down in tears after full-time at Deepdale this afternoon as he faced up to the realisation that his reign as Leeds boss was probably over after six months and 38 games.

The 53-year-old Scot, whose contract ends in June, said he had been confident a week ago that his deal would be extended by United owner Massimo Cellino but admitted the seven days since had lowered his expectation of securing a fresh deal.

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Evans refused to explain what had changed in that time but said his "gut feeling" was that Cellino would move to appoint a new head coach this summer - the Italian's seventh in little over two years as owner.

Evans and Cellino held an extended meeting last week, 24 hours before United's 2-1 defeat to Charlton Athletic at Elland Road, and the Leeds boss spoke afterwards about receiving positive messages from the club's chairman.

But talking after an injury-time strike denied Leeds victory away at Preston, and asked if he knew what Cellino planned for him, Evans said: "No I don't. I thought I did. Maybe a week ago I thought I did. But I don't know.

"I need to let the people above me take an informed decision and I'll take it with the good grace that I've tried to keep since I came in. I won't be one of those head coaches who goes away, goes to court, speaks ill of this football club. It would go against everything I'm for."

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Asked to explain his change in mood, Evans said: "I don't know. Maybe it's just the feeling you get. I hope not, I really hope not, but if the decision is made of the benefit of the club then I would endorse it.

"I think Mr Cellino will back the club with signings in the summer and I feel that with my CV I've got the capabilities to not just be in the play-offs. This club's season should not be finishing today. It should be going on.

"But I've got a family. I need to go to work (next season) but I'll afford the club the time to make that decision. If it comes and it's against me, I'll break my heart and then I'll switch to speaking to people (other clubs) who've waited to speak to me.

"It's all based on gut feel. If you'd have asked me last week I'd have said I was 100 per cent here. I'm an optimist and I hope that me being pessimistic is wrong. But sometimes your head has to tell your heart what's going to happen."

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Evans was applauded by a large away crowd of 5,500, many of whom chanted 'sign him up' as he left the pitch at the end of today's game.

Evans said: "I'm going to go home and I have to see what the president decides. It's as simple as that.

"I would have loved to have been at Thorp Arch on Monday, planning pre-season and the recruitment. Maybe that will still happen but I'll have a couple of days at home and gather my own thoughts.

"If the head coach is someone else, he won't want me putting pre-season together or picking fixtures. He won't my signings to coming in the door. Everyone wants their own opportunity."