Leeds United: Whites boss pitches his promotion credentials

Caretaker manager Nigel Gibbs.
Caretaker manager Nigel Gibbs.
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Brian McDermott made a fresh plea for Massimo Cellino to give him another season as Leeds United manager after a 2-0 win over Blackpool ended his first year in charge and turned the club’s attention to the summer.

McDermott marked 12 months at Elland Road with a result which halted a run of five straight defeats and extinguished the threat of Leeds being dragged into a relegation fight at the bottom of the Championship.

Two goals from Luke Murphy picked off a struggling Blackpool team and guaranteed Leeds a mid-table finish with four games to go. His brace also gave Cellino victory at the end of his first home match as owner of United.

The Italian completed his 75 per cent takeover last week and has started restructuring a club which was consumed by financial and organisational chaos after Christmas.

McDermott’s future remains the subject of intense speculation, with Cellino likely to retain him until the end of the season but yet to give any firm hints about his long-term plans for the managerial post.

McDermott said he could not be confident of keeping his job but he urged Cellino to give some consideration to his strong record at Reading, the club he managed before Leeds.

“He’s his own man,” McDermott said. “He’ll do what he thinks is right, and rightly so. He’s the owner of the club.

“But I’ve won this league. I’ve won it in a stable environment. You’re not talking about a manager who hasn’t. I’ve also been in a play-off final and I had a 50 per cent win ratio in this league (with Reading) so I know what’s required.

“I haven’t got that at Leeds but it’s where we have to get to. Given an opportunity, I feel so strongly that I can do it.”

Cellino attempted to sack McDermott in January before his takeover was complete but McDermott is under contract for another two years and has battled on in his post amid turmoil behind the scenes and a streak of bad results since the turn of the year.

“I could have walked away in January but the thought never even entered my head,” he said. “I’ve been to some tough places but it never entered my head.

“It’s got nothing to do with money. I’m manager of Leeds United. Why would I want to leave or even consider leaving a job like that? Where am I going to go from Leeds United if I walk away? That’s the thing. It means too much to me.”

Saturday’s game played out with a different dynamic in the home dug-out, with McDermott wearing a tracksuit rather than his usual shirt and tie.

He spent most of the match stood behind the technical area as United’s assistant manager, Nigel Gibbs, gave instructions to the players.

“That was deliberate,” McDermott said. “I’ve worked with Nigel for seven years and we’ve done it before.

“I was there, Nigel was in front of me and that suited me. We trust each other 100 per cent and we work well together. We just tried to change things around – little things because we’ve not been getting results.”

Asked why he had dispensed with his suit, McDermott said: “My daughter told me to wear a tracksuit. She said suits are for politics. She’s probably right.”

United are less than three weeks away from the end of the term and McDermott said he was keen to begin planning for pre-season and the summer transfer market, on the assumption that he would remain as manager.

“We can start talking about pre-season, planning ahead and about players,” he said. “We can talk about a lot of things that we haven’t been able to recently.

“I’m not going to speak about the current squad now. I need to sit down with the owner and go from there. But what I will say is that the players did really well for us (against Blackpool).

“We started the season really well, we were in the top five but we’ve had our issues.”

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