NEW Leeds United head coach Steve Evans has urged the Elland Road faithful to give him a chance, hoping he can bring the same positive vibe that Jurgen Klopp has brought to Liverpool.
Former Rotherham United boss Evans has immediately been named as successor to Uwe Rosler whom chairman Massimo Cellino relieved of his duties on Sunday evening.
And while colourful and controversial character Evans knows he won’t have been anything like United’s fans’ ideal choice, the Glaswegian insists his appointment at Rotherham was met with similar disapproval.
Evans went on to take the Millers from League Two to the Championship and while the Scot knows he is facing a different proposition entirely at Elland Road, the 52-year-old is optimistic he can again win over the doubters.
“All I can ask the Leeds United supporters to do is to give me the benefit of the doubt,” said Evans.
“I think all sets of supporters should be upset when a head coach or a manager leaves. It’s never a good time but it’s the dynamics of football that you have to win football matches and you have to be consistent. If you don’t then we all know what happens. There’s no hiding place and look at Brendan Rodgers. For me it was harsh.
“But look at the excitement at Liverpool now with Jurgen Klopp who can go in and win games. Just give me an opportunity, that’s all I’m asking.
“A lot of people said about me ‘don’t give him the opportunity at Rotherham’ but I’ll go down in the record books at Rotherham for the right reasons.
“And I’d rather not be a statistic at Leeds United and go down in the record books here for the right reasons.
“Perhaps I wouldn’t be the chosen manager for many Leeds United fans. I can understand why they may think that, but the only thing that matters to me is what happens on the grass.
“As I proved at Rotherham and as I proved at Crawley, if I win football matches then people will embrace me. It’s always about winning football matches.
“Give me a chance and I’ll get a team on the pitch that can win matches for what is a famous club world-wide.”
Evans has signed a one month rolling contract until June and will be joined by new Whites assistant manager Paul Raynor whom the Glaswegian has worked with throughout his career.
The Scot’s appointment was made public on Monday morning but Evans knew he would be United’s next head coach at the weekend after meting with Cellino who was then sensationally banned again by the Football League on Monday afternoon.
Cellino has been banned for the tax evasion conviction imposed on him in June and has until October 28 to appeal.
But the Italian has already appointed his new head coach and Evans said: “I was awake at four o’clock this morning waiting to drive to Thorp Arch. Nerves, excitement, Christmas Eve. It’s exciting and I was quite emotional in a way last night. I get emotional, as you know.
“I don’t think there will be many managers outside the Barclays Premier League that would get a call at the weekend to say ‘would you like to be manager at Leeds United’ that wouldn’t pinch themselves when they wake up.
“It’s a massive task and there’s been some great managers that have not been able to get them to win football matches. What an opportunity I’ve been given. I just need to grab it.”
Evans now has just two days until his first game in charge at Leeds who visit Fulham on Wednesday, three days before travelling to a Bolton Wanderers side where the Scot actually began his career as a teenager.
United, who are 18th and just three points above the dropzone, then host Blackburn Rovers a week on Thursday looking to register their first win at Elland Road in nearly eight months.
The 11 games that United have gone without winning at home is already a club record.
Asked what Cellino had instructed of him, Evans said simply: “I have to win matches - that’s what he said.
“My target is to try and get a point or three off Fulham on Wednesday, that’s the first objective. Then Bolton.
“Then we talk about a home fixture and not winning a home fixture for seven months which is not acceptable at any club.
“My initial job is to rejuvenate one or two of these lads here and give them the confidence back they had playing under Neil Redfearn and let’s see if we can go to Fulham and first and foremost put in a performance.
“A performance normally brings you results.”