Leeds United: ‘Job done’ but it could have been a lot better concedes Evans

Steve Evans
Steve Evans
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STEVE EVANS believes his seven months in charge of Leeds United have been a “job well done” but admits the club’s season could have been so much better.

Evans is still waiting to learn if he has a long-term future as Whites head coach with chairman Massimo Cellino yet to offer the Glaswegian an extension to his current contract which expires at the end of June.

United can finish no higher than 11th ahead of Saturday’s Championship finalé at Preston North End but Leeds were flirting with the relegation spots upon Evans’ arrival, making the Scot view his time in charge so far as a success.

The Whites also sold one of their star youngsters, Sam Byram, to West Ham United for £3.7m in January – and without heavily re-investing, Evans is satisfied with his work, whilst also admitting there was definitely room for improvement.

Evans reasoned: “You always look back with the benefit of hindsight and say we could have done certain things, definitely, and that goes for everything from team systems to formations to players.

“But I think if we look back and just took it in isolation and said right, we lost the likes of Sam out and brought the lads in that we did, and with the way that the feeling was inside the club when we arrived and the battle that it was in, then you would probably say it’s a job well done.

“I think if we were all back at school it would say job well done but could have really been so much better.

“I think we have had ups and downs since we have come in, there has been downs as well as ups and I think any head coach or manager would tell you, you tend to focus more on the downs and you have a summer of reflection at the end of it.

“But I think if someone would have said when we came in that we would be going to Preston on the last day and we had an opportunity to finish 11th in the table, considering where we were and considering we have not overly spent any type of money and we have obviously lost the likes of Sam for good money, then you would tend to think that would be okay.

“But there’s so much more to achieve here. We have got some outstanding players in that dressing room and the bulk of that squad is ready for a tilt at the top end of this division.

“It needs a few extra to help them and some good players to arrive.”

Leeds currently sit 12th in the table and will only jump to 11th if they beat Preston by four clear goals on Saturday.

United could yet be booted out of the top half if QPR get a better result at home to Bristol City than United get at Deepdale.

A top-half finish could have been assured with victory at home to Charlton Athletic last weekend, a game Leeds lost 2-1 – the club’s eighth loss at Elland Road this campaign.

“I think the home form always has to be good when you have a good season,” said Evans.

“I think some clubs in the Championship would be delighted with where we are going to finish – whatever happens at Preston.

“But from a Leeds United point of view it’s not good enough and that’s why, hopefully, there are going to be additional players coming this summer, added to keeping the best ones we have got and having a real opportunity to go and fight for those play-offs next year, if not above that. That’s the objective.”

Leeds will now take 5,500 fans to Saturday’s end-of-season ‘dead rubber’ at Preston, and Evans is desperate to send the club’s loyal faithful away with a win.

Evans beamed: “We are taking, I think, over five and a half thousand supporters to Preston on the last day with nothing on whether we win, lose or draw, other than the league table position. But what’s on it for the Leeds United supporters and players and staff is we should want to win on Saturday to finish the season on a positive.

“And if ever there was a single reason to win, it would be to win for the supporters.

“They are incredible. If we were in an Asda car park or a Tesco car park, whatever it is, it would be a sell-out crowd of Leeds United supporters.

“They are just special, special people that deserve a special, special team and, hopefully, next season they get a special, special season because that’s what they deserve.”