Leeds United: No assurances for Whites boss Brian

Brian McDermott.
Brian McDermott.
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Brian McDermott insisted last night that he was happy to work for Massimo Cellino without any assurances about his future as manager after “frank” talks with Leeds United’s prospective new owner.

McDermott said a meeting with Cellino in Leeds last week – the first between them since the Italian attempted to sack him on January 31 – had prompted a “good conversation” about the prospect of them working together at Elland Road.

Cellino will become McDermott’s boss if the Football League agrees to ratify the 57-year-old’s purchase of a 75 per cent stake in Leeds, a takeover which has been in the hands of the governing body for the past fortnight.

The relationship between the two was soured early on when Cellino tried to sack McDermott on transfer deadline day, hours after reaching a £25m deal to buy United from existing owner Gulf Finance House.

GFH revoked that decision, claiming Cellino lacked the necessary authority to take it, and attempts by the Cagliari president to reconcile his differences with McDermott led to positive discussions between them a week ago.

Cellino’s initial treatment of McDermott suggested that the former Reading boss would be at immediate risk of the sack if the takeover went through but McDermott, whose contract runs to 2016, said he had asked for no guarantees about his job during his meeting with Cellino.

“I didn’t ask for any assurances,” he said. “It’s not something I’d ask any owner for.

“I’ll work to the best of my ability every day, that’s all I can guarantee. My staff do the same and so do the players. I’ve never once asked for assurances and I wouldn’t from any owner.

“We had a good discussion. It was fine. We talked about football because he’s a football man. We talked about what he’s done in his career and talked about what I’ve done. We talked about football a lot.

“I’ve won the Championship, been in the Premier League and been in two quarter-finals. Your record is what’s important as a manager. You’re talking about facts.

“I want to win more games than we’re winning at the moment, that’s the long and short of it, but for me every manager is judged on results. My position will always depend on results.”

Asked if Cellino had apologised to him for the events which saw McDermott dismissed and then reinstated during an unprecedented weekend at the start of this month, the Leeds boss said: “Yeah, we had a good conversation. It was frank and it went well. The details of the conversation - that’s for me and him.

“The most important thing for me is that when it’s decided who the owner’s going to be, and I’m sure that will be pretty soon, I’ll have no problem working with Massimo. None at all.”

Cellino was at United’s Thorp Arch training ground yesterday while McDermott was finalising preparation for tomorrow’s Championship game at Middlesbrough, and McDermott has been given permission by the club to complete the signing of goalkeeper Jack Butland on loan from Stoke City today.

McDermott said he’d had no further contact with Gianluca Festa since speaking to the former Middlesbrough defender - a close ally of Cellino’s and a potential addition to the backroom team at Leeds - two weeks ago.

“Nothing’s changed as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I work day to day to the best of my ability.

“We’re trying to do everything that’s good for Leeds United. Anybody who can help Leeds United and bring the club forward is going to be a friend of ours.”

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