Leeds United: Darko - I’ll cope with pressure

NEW ERA: New Leeds United head coach Darko Milanic, pictured at Elland Road. Picture by Simon Hulme.
NEW ERA: New Leeds United head coach Darko Milanic, pictured at Elland Road. Picture by Simon Hulme.
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DARKO Milanic last night spoke of his pride at becoming Leeds United’s new head coach and played down Massimo Cellino’s ruthless reputation, saying: “It doesn’t worry me.”

The Slovenian promised “aggressive, dangerous” football at Elland Road after signing a two-year deal to become United’s first-ever continental boss.

Milanic ended the club’s four-week wait to replace David Hockaday by accepting an offer from Cellino on Tuesday and his reign will begin in earnest on Saturday when Leeds travel to Brentford for their ninth league game for the season.

The former Sturm Graz boss said he had been set no specific targets by Cellino beyond gradually honing a young Leeds squad for promotion to the Premier League and he insisted that the Italian’s track record of regularly dismissing coaches was of no concern to him.

Hockaday – the first head coach appointed by Cellino after his takeover of United – lasted for only 70 days in the job but Milanic said: “Our job is at risk every Saturday, every game. I have to do my best. It doesn’t worry me.

“We want to go in the future to the Premier League and I’m proud to be here. I try to do my best. Everyone has pressure, it’s not new to me.

“I’m here to coach. I’m here to give my ideas on the pitch. My first challenge is Saturday’s match.”

Milanic activated a ‘walk-out’ clause in his deal at Graz in order to take charge at Leeds, quitting the Austrian club last weekend at a cost of over £200,000.

The ex-Partizan Belgrade defender has never worked in England before but he contested a number of Europa League ties in Britain while in charge of Slovenian side Maribor.

Milanic said: “I enjoyed it in England. Two years ago we played against Tottenham and we played against Birmingham, and in Scotland.

“For me it’s very emotional to be a coach here.”

Paul Heckingbottom.

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