Brian McDermott bore the brunt of a furious reaction from Leeds United’s supporters at Rochdale on Saturday and admitted: “It’s the worst moment I’ve had in football.”
The United manager watched an away crowd of 3,400 turn on him and his team after a horrible defeat in the third round of the FA Cup.
Goals from Scott Hogan and Ian Henderson saw League Two Rochdale take United’s scalp at Spotland and McDermott compared his feeling at full-time to the acute disappointment of seeing his Reading side lose the Championship play-off final in 2011.
McDermott faced up to Leeds’ travelling support after the final whistle and instructed his players to do the same but they were jeered from the pitch as the crowd vented frustration at United’s performance. “That’s probably the worst moment I’ve had in football, or right up there,” McDermott said.
“I lost a play-off final and it didn’t feel like that, right at the end when we went to our supporters.
“The reaction we got I expected. I knew it was coming and we hold our hands up. It’s going to be a driver for me in the next few weeks. I’ll use it as a complete and utter driver.
“What can I say apart from apologise for that performance? There’s no-one here who wants to get it right more than me.”
The result at Spotland – one of the biggest upsets of the weekend’s third-round ties – raised the pressure after United’s recent league defeats to Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers.
McDermott is continuing to press for new signings, with Hull City winger Cameron Stewart close to a move to Elland Road, but he spoke of a disconsolate mood among his squad after Henderson’s 85th-minute volley led to vocal criticism from one side of Spotland.
“The players are hurting,” McDermott said. “Whatever people say about the dressing room, they’re hurting. They don’t want performances or results like that. It looked like Rochdale wanted it more but it’s a cliché to turn round and say that. I know our players and I know we need to invest now. We need to move on.”