David Hockaday kept talk of his trigger-happy owner at bay with his first league win as Leeds manager, with Middlesbrough beaten 1-0.
By his own admission Hockaday is the ‘Mr Nobody’ of coaching and speculation had been rife over how long the 56-year-old - who lists Forest Green as the most senior side he has previously managed - would last at the hands of colourful owner Massimo Cellino.
The Italian admits he goes through managers quicker than he does clothes and losing at Millwall on the opening day of the Championship campaign was a start Hockday could have done without.
But rather than respond with a P45, Cellino bought him three players and one of them, Billy Sharp, scored an 88th-minute winner to sink Boro.
“It was a tough game, there were quite a few chances and it took a goal poacher to sneak the win,” Hockaday said.
“Boro are a good team, one of the form teams, and to come away with a clean sheet and three points, I can’t ask for more.”
Hockaday refused to take any personal glory from the victory, though.
Asked if he had proved anyone wrong, he said: “I am here to prove the president (Cellino) right. I have been, I am the head coach at Leeds United - how tough is that? I am honoured and can’t thank him enough.
“I am fortunate to be given this chance and the players worked their socks off today. Nobody can say we didn’t sweat blood for that white shirt.
“I’ve been in football for 40 years and pressure is my middle name.”
Hockaday may have been in the game for four decades, but match-winner Sharp has been a Leeds player for only four days.
“It’s what he does,” Hockaday said of the 28-year-old. “There’s more to his game, he linked the play and it was the complete performance from him.”
The outcome could have been different had Middlesbrough not had a first-half goal disallowed.
There appeared to be little wrong with Albert Adomah’s overhead kick on the back of a mistake by Liam Cooper, but referee Stuart Atwell saw something in the moment when the winger went for the ball close to Stephen Warnock’s head.
Adomah ran away to celebrate and the goal appeared to have stood until eventually it was ruled out.
“I can’t understand why the goal is not on the scoreboard,” manager Aitor Karanka said. “I think it was a good height (Admoah’s foot) if you see the replay.
“The referee was the person who saw the foot, but the replay does not show this decision in the first second he was waiting four, five, six seconds as we were running to the middle of the pitch.
“I didn’t see the incident, but if you have a foul you have it on one second not six.”
Karanka, whose side earned plaudits in the first week of the season with convincing wins over Birmingham and Oldham, felt his players paid the price for getting dragged into a war by Leeds.
“We played in their style,” he added. “We didn’t keep the ball. We tried to do it by putting Adam Clayton on the pitch but we didn’t get to play in our style.”