Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Leeds squad lines up behind Redfearn - but he still has no contract

Yorkshire Post 29/10/14
LEFT-BACK Stephen Warnock said Neil Redfearn could count on the full support of Leeds United’s players as Redfearn pushed to seal his appointment as head coach before Saturday’s game at Cardiff City.
Warnock welcomed the move to promote Redfearn from his academy job in the wake of Darko Milanic’s sacking, saying the 49-year-old appeared to hold the respect of owner Massimo Cellino and the entire first-team squad.
Cellino dismissed Milanic after 32 days in charge on Saturday, ending the Slovenian’s brief reign following a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers and six league matches without a win.
United’s president immediately announced that Redfearn would replace Milanic on a permanent basis – the third full-time head coach employed by Leeds this season – but Redfearn is yet to finalise the details of a new contract with the club.
He met with Cellino on Monday afternoon and verbally agreed to take the job on, and the former Barnsley midfielder initially told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he expected the terms of his deal to be formally put in place after this weekend’s visit to Cardiff.
“I don’t think anything will be finalised this week, to be honest,” Redfearn said.
“I’m very mindful of this game on Saturday. I want to get this week done, the training right and for the lads to be upbeat.”
Redfearn, however, has since informed Cellino that he wants to see his appointment confirmed before Leeds travel to south Wales.
United’s long-serving youth-team coach sought and received assurances from Cellino during talks on Monday, including the promise of a return to his existing job as academy manager if the head coach’s role fails to work out and a contract reflecting the new and more high-profile role. Redfearn is also looking to bring in an assistant boss but he said that he and Cellino would look to compensate for his move away from the academy by “restructuring from within.”
Redfearn has effectively been in charge of the first team since the resumption of training at the start of this week, and Warnock welcomed his impending appointment saying: “He’s obviously got the respect of the chairman (Cellino) and the respect of the players.
“We’ve worked under him quite a few times, the lads who’ve been here for a longer period.
“He’s someone the lads enjoy working for and hopefully he can get the best out of the team and get the best out of the team and turn things the right way.”
Milanic became the shortest-serving boss in Leeds’ history on Saturday when Cellino sacked him less than five weeks after appointing the former Sturm Graz coach on a two-year deal worth around £400,000 a season.
The 46-year-old took three points from his six games as boss, seven fewer than Redfearn amassed in four matches as caretaker following the dismissal of David Hockaday in August.
Leeds are 18th in the Championship table and without a win since September 22 but Warnock admitted that Milanic’s departure had come as a shock, despite the recent form.
“It’s a surprise to everyone, the way it’s unfolded,” Warnock said.
“We know the results haven’t been going too well but whenever a new manager comes in, there’s a transitional period where sometimes results don’t go the way they should.
“But the chairman (Cellino) has decided to change it and we have to deal with that and get on with that.”

He’s definitely gone: Leeds rubbish Milanic claims

Yorkshire Post 28/10/14
DARKO MILANIC’s claims that he has not officially been sacked by Leeds United have been rejected by the club.
The Slovenian was shown the door after just 32 days in charge after Saturday’s defeat to Wolves, just a month into his two-year contract which runs until 2016.
Milanic says has been placed on paid ‘gardening’ leave and will get paid for the rest of his contract.
He is due to return to the continent this week.
Speaking to Slovenian radio, the 46-year-old said: “My contract was not terminated, I’m on paid leave.
“During this time, I must be ready all the time to once again take over the team, if requested by the owner.
“My contract continues to run and I’m on vacation. I signed for two years and I will not terminate my contract.”
While technically speaking at least, Milanic could return to Leeds before the expiry of his contract in 2016, that appears extremely unlikely – with the club adamant he has been formally sacked.
Meanwhile, Milanic has hit back at Massimo Cellino accusing him of being a negative coach with a ‘losing mentality.’
The former Sturm Graz and Maribor head coach has professed disappointment at Cellino’s comments, while insisting he believes he did not make a mistake coming to Leeds.
He said: “Cellino said I’m a loser? He should look at my CV.”
“In six games with the team, I made a big step forward.
“It is true that we had bad results, but the day before the game we had praise from all sides on how the situation was improving.
“I do not believe I made a mistake in joining Leeds. I just wish that someone would believe in me.
“The atmosphere at home and away is amazing. I’m not sorry (about agreeing to take the job).
“The work ethic was excellent, the willingness of the players was very good.
“You need order to be able to do anything.
“This is an extremely tight deadline, but I was familiar with the risk at Leeds.”

Owners urged to take more care when recruiting

Yorkshire Post 28/10/14
THE chief executive of the League Managers’ Association last night described Leeds United’s managerial upheaval as “unsustainable” and called on club owners to take more care during the recruitment process.
Darko Milanic’s departure on Saturday night after just 32 days in the job means the Elland Road club have sacked three managers/head coaches since May.
Neil Redfearn, who has been in charge of United three times in an interim role, will take the reins on a permanent basis and supporters will be hoping the popular Academy chief is given time to get things right.
Whether the 49-year-old former midfielder will be afforded that precious commodity remains to be seen, however, with Leeds president Massimo Cellino’s reputation in his native Italy as a “manager eater” being underlined by there having been 36 managerial changes during his 22 years at the helm of Serie A side Cagliari.
For LMA chief Richard Bevan, such upheaval is not compatible with success in football and he has called on owners in general to show more restraint.
When asked about the recent events at Elland Road, Bevan told The Yorkshire Post: “Clearly a key point to make with Leeds is that a model of appointing a manager and then giving that individual just six matches is simply unsustainable – which is what not only happened with Darko Milanic this season but also David Hockaday.
“While you have specifically highlighted Leeds’s case, unfortunately this record (21 managers have lost their job this term) is not the kind of landmark we want to see across the game as a whole – particularly when combining this with more than 40 coaches who have also lost their jobs.”
Jose Riga last night became the latest managerial casualty when he was sacked by Blackpool.
Bevan added: “In the Championship, there are currently only four managers who have been in their job for 18 months or more, and none who have been there for more than two and a half years.
“Therefore, such statistics highlight just how important the recruitment process is when appointing a new manager.
“The LMA believes that to give the greatest chance of success, owners have to examine their manager recruitment process, set realistic targets for the manager and coaches and then take responsibility to manage expectations both within the club and amongst the supporters.
“Whatever the particular circumstances, the selection and appointment of the new manager is critical to the well-being of the club.
“In every case, whatever their league status, clubs are an integral part of the fabric of their local community.
“Once the board recruit a manager they owe it to him, themselves and the club to give him every opportunity to prove his worth and, ultimately, prove that they made the right choice in the first place.”
Former Huddersfield Town manager Lee Clark, sacked himself just last week by Birmingham City, is the early favourite to replace Riga at Bloomfield Road.
Reflecting on the record-breaking number of managerial changes this term, Bevan added: “There has already been an unprecedented amount of managerial moves this season and what the overall trend indicates is highlighting what is already common knowledge in that managers are simply not given enough time in their role.”
As for Leeds, Redfearn took training yesterday morning for the first time since Milanic’s departure.
“I had a meeting with the president,” said the club’s new permanent head coach. “Nothing has been put down in concrete. I just wanted to see how he saw it and how he viewed me going forward.
“What I don’t want this to be is a short-term thing, as that is no good to anyone. He said, ‘Look, I see you here for the long haul, I want you here with me’. He does not see that as a short-term, but a long-time thing.
“I have got to sort my contract out and we talked about things briefly, but not in any detail.
“Obviously, from my point of view, things have got to be right as I am in a position now where I have done well. I have got to make sure it is right.
“But I get on really well and work well with him. I understand him and where he is coming from. He is genuinely trying to do well for the club and I can go with that.”
Redfearn says he has a possible assistant in mind but was focused on Saturday’s trip to Cardiff.
Milanic, meanwhile, failed to win any of his first six games in charge and Cellino acted in the wake of Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Slovenian said: “I do not believe I made a mistake in joining Leeds. I just wish that someone would believe in me. Cellino said I am a loser. He should look at my CV.”

Leeds United: Redders happy to take over

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/10/14
by Leon Wobschall
NEIL REDFEARN has verbally agreed a deal to be the new full-time head coach of Leeds United and says he has received the assurances over his future he was seeking from Massimo Cellino.
After three spells in caretaker charge, Redfearn has now been entrusted with a permanent first-team role and will officially sign a contract shortly.
If it does not work out, it is thought there is a proviso that Redfearn will revert to his academy post, but it is hoped that his promotion to the head coach position will be lasting.
Redfearn said: “I had a meeting with Massimo. Nothing has been put down in concrete and I just wanted to see how he saw it and how he viewed me going forward.
“He said: ‘Look, I see you here for the long haul, I want you here with me.’
“I am stepping up taking the first team, but the bottom line is he sees me there for the long haul.’
“The conversation I had with him was whether he sees me as a head coach and that’s it or as a head coach who – if it goes wrong – might go back in the Academy for a bit. But he sees me here for the long haul with him and I have got to take on his word.
“If I am going to be here for the long haul and I don’t mind committing myself for the long term, then the club has got to commit itself to me.
“From the role I am going to take on now, then the contract needs to match the role I am taking on.
“My circumstances will change now because there is a lot more prestige and pressure which comes with getting points for the first team than getting players through the academy and that is not belittling the academy.
“But we had a good conversation. I don’t think anything (contract) will be finalised this week, to be honest and I am very mindful of the Saturday game. I want to get this week done, the training right and the lads upbeat.
“Massimo has said what he is looking to do and sees it as a long-term project and me as part of that.
“I honestly believe him and the stuff he has said before, he has done and been right with me.
“Obviously, from my point of view, things have got to be right for me.
“But I get on really well and work well and understand him and where he is coming from.”
Meanwhile, Redfearn says he has ‘someone in mind’ to bring in as his first-team assistant with a restructuring of academy staff likely to follow after his permanent elevation to first-team matters.”

Neil Redfearn confident he is ‘in for the long haul’ at Leeds United

Guardian 27/10/14
Neil Redfearn is set to become Leeds United’s third manager of the season and says the club’s trigger-happy owner, Massimo Cellino, wants him “for the long haul”.
Darko Milanic became Cellino’s latest victim an hour after Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Wolves – his sixth game and sixth without a win. The Slovenian had been in charge for 32 days.
Leeds are now set to replace the 46-year-old with Redfearn, the perennial caretaker who accrued 10 points from 12 in the gap between Milanic’s reign and that of David Hockaday.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post Redfearn said: “I had a meeting with Massimo today. Nothing has been put down in concrete but I wanted to see how he saw it going forward.
“I don’t want this to be a short-term thing, that is no good for anybody. He told me that he sees me here for the long haul and that he wanted me here with him and that he does not see this as a short-term thing.”
Redfearn watched the Wolves game with Cellino and is set to finalise a contract with the Italian early this week, while Milanic will begin to contemplate rebuilding a career that only five weeks ago was being spent with the Austrian side Sturm Graz – a club where he is adored after a successful spell as a player.
He says he can do so knowing Leeds are still paying him, though, and was quoted as telling Radio Slovenia: “I still have a contract on paid leave. During this time I must be ready to take over the team if requested by the owner.”
That technically opens the door for a return to Elland Road before the expiry of his contract in two years’ time – something not unheard of in Italy, where Cellino spent 22 years with Cagliari, going through 36 coaches in the process.
Any return looks unlikely, however, with Cellino – who appointed Milanic saying “he’s good looking” – admitting he had made a mistake. Three points from 18 and accusations of a negative approach did for Milanic, who saw off the presence of Redfearn to get the job in the first place. He insists, though, that he does not regret making the move, having bought out his contract with Graz in order to head to England.
“In six games with the team I made a big step forward,” he said. “It is true that we had bad results but the day before the game we had praise from all sides on how the situation was improving. I do not believe I made a mistake in joining Leeds. I just wish that someone would believe in me. Cellino said I’m a loser. He should look at my CV.”
While persuading Redfearn to sign up to coach his boyhood side on a full-time basis may not be Cellino’s hardest sell, some grey areas remain.
When Redfearn was overlooked for Milanic a desire for Redfearn to continue his work at the head of the club’s academy was cited, so a replacement will need to be sourced. Likewise the summer sackings of Leigh Bromby, Benito Carbone and Richard Naylor mean Redfearn has no obvious in-house assistant.

Leeds United: Milanic speaks out after his sacking

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/10/14
by Leon Wobschall
DARKO MILANIC has claimed that he is on paid leave at Leeds United and has not officially been sacked, despite the club announcing he was no longer in charge.
Speaking on Slovenian radio, Milanic has spoken out after exiting Leeds after just six games and 32 days at the club, just a month into a two-year deal.
United president Massimo Cellino dispensed with the services of former Sturm Graz and Maribor head coach Milanic shortly after Saturday’s 2-1 home loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That took Milanic’s winless stint at United to six games, with the club picking up just three points from a possible 18.
Speaking to Radio Slovenija, Milanic claimed: “My contract was not terminated, I’m on paid leave.
“During this time I must be ready all the time to once again take over the team, if requested by the owner.
“My contract continues to run and I’m on vacation. I signed for two years and I will not terminate my contract.
In the same interview, Milanic insists that Cellino was wrong to say he has a losing mentality.
Cellino sanctioned the sacking on the Slovenian on Saturday evening, admitting he made a mistake in appointing him.
Cellino said: “I made a mistake with this guy. He is negative, he has a losing mentality.”
Despite Leeds not mustering a win under his watch, Milanic believes he has still made ‘a big step forward’ in his short time at Leeds and just believed he should have received more support from Cellino.
Milanic, 46, who won nine managerial honours at one of his former clubs Maribor – four Slovenian League titles, three Slovenian Cup triumphs and two Super Cup wins - said: “I do not believe I made a mistake joining Leeds.
‘”I just wish that somebody would believe in me. Sometimes a manager just needs some support.”
“Cellino said I’m a loser? He should look at my CV. In six games, I made a big step forward.
“Just before my last match I could hear praises from all side how compact Leeds is now, how the situation is improving.”
Neil Redfearn is now back in charge at United, following his caretaker stint earlier this season and is taking training at Thorp Arch today.
Leeds return to action next Saturday with a Championship game at Cardiff City.

Leeds United 1 Wolves 2: Milanic left to lick wounds after second-half mauling by Wolves

Yorkshire Post 27/10/14
by Leon Wobschall at Elland Road
ON the weekend when the clocks went back to signal the end of British Summer Time, Darko Milanic’s footballing clock stopped at Leeds United.
The Slovenian’s time ran out after a mere 32 days in West Yorkshire and the latest chapter in United’s increasingly bizarre and dysfunctional campaign is filed.
Given events on the pitch this season when Leeds have periodically veered from the sublime – think the last half an hour at Bournemouth, first half against Rotherham and the whole game versus Huddersfield– to the ridiculous, Saturday’s erratic 
offering should not have come as much of a surprise.
Granted, the timing of 
Milanic’s sacking, with many home fans barely back inside their front doors on Saturday evening, probably did.
But in the cold light of day, upon reflection, it was not exactly a seismic shock.
A case of when and not if, many would have ventured, more especially under a hands-on, front-seat driver in president Massimo Cellino.
Patrons in the South Stand made clear their support for Neil Redfearn deep into the second half of an encounter when Leeds were their own worst enemies, and they were granted their wish probably a bit earlier than they expected.
After three stints as caretaker manager/head coach, the Yorkshireman is now in situ in the position, but on a permanent basis with the hope being he can rewind the clock to mid September.
His elevation is timely for a Leeds side who have badly lost their way and have stumbled into the dark from winning positions in two of their last three matches.
Games against Rotherham and now Wolves could and perhaps would have been won with a bit more on-pitch savvy.
In the final analysis, the messages of Milanic, whose exasperation in the technical area became more pronounced the longer Saturday’s game went on, have got lost in translation somehow.
He heads back to the continent no doubt bewildered by his experiences in England, which only began on September 23.
How different things looked at half-time on Saturday after a dominant home display where it was Leeds who looked the side in fourth position in the Championship table and not Wolves.
But good managers come to life at the interval and it was Kenny Jackett who came up with the answers and also questions to pose to his counterpart.
The promotion from the bench of a forward in Leon Clarke, who fired the winner five minutes from time, to supplement the previously isolated Nouha Dicko proved the catalyst as Leeds painfully lost momentum much as they had at Rotherham eight days earlier. But in worse fashion this time round.
Full value for a first-half lead conjured by a lovely 18th-minute opener from Mirco Antenucci, who finished off a quality move involving the impressive Steve Morison and Alex Mowatt, Leeds were entitled to believe at half-time that this could be the day when Milanic truly arrived as head coach.
Wolves, almost a year to the day from turning around an early deficit at Leeds’s near-neighbours Bradford City to triumph 2-1, had other ideas and performed a repeat trick, with James Henry emphatically levelling midway through the second half ahead of Clarke’s decisive intervention, which had been coming.
Henry took advantage of a ricochet off Giuseppe Bellusci to rifle the ball high past Marco Silvestri to equalise on 66 minutes and after Rajiv van La Parra spurned a glaring chance, it was left to his fellow substitute Clarke to unwittingly administer the last rites to Milanic’s brief tenure.
A lack of cohesion during a fitful second period was something that rankled not just with fans and the man who matters most in Cellino, but those on the pitch, most notably Morison, who had a bitter-sweet experience in his first Leeds start since May 2013.
The forward was arguably Leeds’s best player in the first half, setting up Antenucci’s strike and supplying a chance for Mowatt soon after which the midfielder failed to convert – a miss that the hosts were left to rue.
But on the restart, isolated on the flanks, he was more peripheral as Wolves did a number on the hosts, who after looking a team in the first half resembled an assortment of disparate individuals on the restart.
Summing up his frustration, Morison said: “For some reason, we changed what we were doing in the first half and started doing the complete opposite.
“In the second half, we seemed to think we were Barcelona and that we could play out from 
anywhere and we stopped doing what we were doing in the first half, which was effective.
“Personally, I think when you have someone on the floor, you keep stamping on top of them until they go away and we stopped doing that.
“It is a frustrating one.
“The fans after the first half were buzzing after the way we played and they have gone home and booed us off, which was disappointing.”

Leeds United: We were architects of own downfall – Morison

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/10/14
by Leon Wobschall
STEVE MORISON admits that Leeds United were architects of their own downfall and paid a heavy price for a poor second-half showing against Wolves.
Saturday proved a bittersweet afternoon for Morison, who was arguably the hosts’ stand-out player in the first period on his first start for Leeds since May 2013.
But in the second half, Wolves turned the tables en route to a 2-1 success, with Leeds having no answers and being palpably unable to stem the tide. Morison felt Leeds were guilty of overplaying at times, and the former Norwich and Millwall frontman again cited poor communication levels between players, due to ongoing difficulties with the language barrier.
Morison, who set up Mirco Antenucci’s 18th-minute opener, said: “For some reason, we changed what we were doing in the first half and started doing the complete opposite. In the second half, we seemed to think we were Barcelona and that we could play out from anywhere and we stopped doing what we were doing in the first half, which was effective. Personally, I think when you have someone on the floor, you keep stamping on top of them until they go away and we stopped doing that. It was frustrating. I personally thought we knew what we had to do.”
He added: “We struggled a little bit with the language barrier. On the pitch, in the heat of the battle and the moment, it is important to get info to each other. I remember one point that I was trying to talk to Mirco in the middle of the pitch and they took a quick free-kick. Normally, you are running and shouting.”
Despite the result, Morison felt that he put in a good shift in a rare start and is hoping to have done enough to stay in the side – even with Souleymane Doukara back from suspension for Saturday’s game with Cardiff.
He added: “I thought I did all right. I have been waiting for a chance. I have got it maybe a little bit by default, with Doukara being suspended and Sharp being injured, but I thought I played well.
“Hopefully, the fans saw that I put in a shift and to be honest, I was knackered.
“To be honest, that is what happens when you have six or seven minutes of football throughout a game and all of a sudden, you start a game.”