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.”

Leeds United 1 Wolves 2: Defeat sees Milanic thrown to the Wolves

Yorkshire Evening Post 27/10/14
by Phil Hay
The last Leeds United boss who failed to win any of his first six games was the peerless Don Revie so Darko Milanic shared good company but Saturday was no time for omens or tenuous comparisons.
Thirteen years Revie reigned for and when his departure from Elland Road came, it came of his own accord. Sacked on Saturday evening, Milanic survived for 32 days; fewer than Brian Clough and fewer than Jock Stein. Fewer than any other coach in the history of this maddening club.
The Slovenian was fired just after 6pm and little over an hour after a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, the final straw in the eyes of an owner who never waits long to break the camel’s back.
Milanic seemed safe with 45 minutes gone but a period of concerted retreat and backtracking did for him at full-time. One surrender too many, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Milanic had a victory within his grasp at Rotherham 10 days ago but a 1-0 lead at half-time evaporated quickly. Leeds collapsed in the same circumstances and the same manner on Saturday, picked off by an 85th-minute goal from Leon Clarke and their own passive attitude.
Massimo Cellino was not alone in venting his annoyance at the final whistle but the speed of Milanic’s sacking was brutal and bewildering. “He had to go,” Cellino said, as if his head coach had been clinging on for months.
The situation at the final whistle was delicate enough for Milanic to face questions about his future during the post-match press conference.
He made it that far, telling the assembled media that he thought he could get a grip the club. “Yes, I believe it,” he said. Who knows if he meant it? “But this is not a good position for me or the team,” was his telling caveat.
Leeds are 18th in the Championship; back where they were, effectively, when Cellino dismissed David Hockaday after the same number of games in August. The team has changed and certain players have drifted in and out of the picture but United look and feel like chaos. There must be other clubs who live this way but only Leeds can go from the satisfaction felt at half-time on Saturday to blood on the boardroom floor by sundown. Neil Redfearn will take up the reins this morning, on a permanent basis this time and via a promotion which tears him away from the academy. That, more than Hockaday or Milanic, is a decision which carries a huge amount of risk.
Milanic leaves behind a team who are showing potential in their own way but falling short as a matter of course.
Leeds worked Wolves off the pitch during the first half, creating a chance which Mirco Antenucci took cleverly in the 18th minute, but Kenny Jackett was honest about his team’s deficiencies and implemented a rethink at the interval.
Leon Clarke came off the bench for the second half and with an extra striker up front, Wolves commandeered the ball.
It was reminiscent of United’s defeat at Rotherham as Milanic’s players shrunk, dropped back and allowed Wolves to call the shots. Milanic delayed in reacting as Jackett had done and his introduction of Luke Murphy shortly before James Henry’s 66th-minute equaliser had negative results, reducing United’s threat to a minimum and giving Wolves the scent of a winning goal. At 1-1, only one side had a decisive strike in them.
Clarke produced it in the 85th minute, converting Matt Doherty’s cut-back with Milanic’s defence badly out of shape. Stephen Warnock appeared to have prevented a crisis seconds earlier, sticking his foot in and ending a slick counter-attack led by Nouha Dicko but Wolves were swarming forward and Leeds could not resist. “It was a deserved victory in the end,” Jackett said.
Why the contrast between the first and the second halves, Milanic was asked. “We lost control,” he replied. “We were without possession, without passes. We didn’t play anymore, not like the first half and not like we have to.
“It was good until the last five minutes of the first half when we began to go backwards. We had a plan in the dressing room that we would begin the second half like we started the first minute, with quick play and possession.
“But from the first minute of the second half we lost control of the game.”
By the time he spoke, the merits of the afternoon had been forgotten.
Steve Morison made his first start for 17 months and ran the right channel brilliantly for the best part of 45 minutes.
The striker had a hand in Antenucci’s goal, knocking a long ball from Alex Mowatt towards the striker who outwitted Ethan Ebanks-Landell on the edge of the box and tucked a precise shot inside Carl Ikeme’s far post.
Adryan contributed to the better moments of interplay and Lewis Cook played like the prospect he is.
At the end of a week when allegations of racism were thrown at him, Giuseppe Bellusci was virtually flawless before half-time. Even Milanic’s diamond midfield sat beyond reproach and above criticism but the house of cards fell apart.
It might have been different had Mowatt done better in the 25th minute with a chance which Morison served up on a plate but the midfielder hacked straight at Ikeme.
Henry was Wolves’ only outlet before the break and he eventually claimed their equalising goal.
Poor defending and a ricochet off Bellusci allowed the winger to slip into the box and smash the ball into the roof of Marco Silvestri’s net.
The goal had been coming and another one looked likely. Substitute Rajiv van La Parra missed an open net before Clarke kept his head as others lost theirs five minutes from time.
Milanic slipped down the tunnel quickly at full-time, never to be seen again in Leeds.
“We have to get stability,” he said afterwards, talking about his team and their performances but echoing what many think about the club.
Good luck with that.

Leeds: We Really Can't Afford Any More Cellino Balls-Ups

Sabotage Times 26/10/14
by Paul Sherman
Darko days are over, time for Cellino to stick with Redfearn and give him time and support.
Darko Milanic lasted 32 days at Leeds United under Massimo Cellino. His CV was littered with trophies, albeit in Slovenia, his reputation as a pragmatist should have rung alarm bells but we fans, desperate for success, clung to the hope that this time the president’s choice, suggested by the trusty Salerno was the right man. He appeared calm, professional and much better looking than his horrific predecessor Hockaday who, with the hapless Junior Lewis, lasted a remarkable 70 days. Before them a marriage made in hell that had no chance of longevity was terminated when Brian McDermott finally left the club not too long after his erroneous sacking and reinstatement in January.
All three ex Leeds managers were decent blokes with varying degrees of experience, all three of them were eaten up by the size of the club, the expectation of the fans and most of all the voracious appetite for success emanating from our esteemed owner. The current score is Mangiaallenatori 3:0 Allenatori, this has got to be the full time score for this season at least. No more outsiders, the good uns won’t come anyway, it’s time for one of our own.
Cellino’s famous watermelon comments are bizarre, in no business do you employ a senior manager without absolute knowledge of their personality, suitability and total confidence is their ability. He has now made two monumental mistakes with Hock & Darko, that must be the end of it.
Massimo was as gutted as we were on Saturday night and has admitted both times that he made wrong appointments, bottom line is the buck stops with him, the next appointment must put the club into a strong, stable position to achieve his target of promotion in two years.
The only run of success where the team have shown steady improvement was under the caretaker change of Neil Redfearn, a proper Leeds man, steeped in 9 years experience at the club and responsible for the hugely successful academy. Tellingly, Redfearn is the only coach who has had the balls to call the boss Massimo and the two of them appear to have serious mutual respect, speak of each other in glowing terms and genuinely like each other.
Cellino wants progressive, exciting, passing football, solid at the back, creative in midfield with a touch of magic in the last third, along with sporting director Director Salerno he has added new players to a core of home grown youngsters who are capable of delivering exactly what he and the fans crave. The watching masses want to see a group of players who show pride in the shirt, play with passion, want success and care about the results.
Off the field Cellino has done an awesome job on the debt, running costs and ugly relationship with GFH, there is still major concern regarding the strength of the administrative side of the business and the ability and leadership available to potentialise commercial revenues. His promise to buy back Elland Road by the end of November is seen as a litmus test of his intentions by a good sized chunk of the fan base.
Right now the club needs stability like never before. We boast global support who have stuck with the club through thin and thinner over the last dozen years but the cynicism is deep rooted. Leeds fans are amongst the most passionate in the world and social media provides a perfect platform for myriad viewpoints, all felt from the heart, all strongly stated, diverse but all springing from the fountain of hope that we will see a team we can be proud of.
Cellino has announced that Neil Redfearn is the new head coach, he needs to take care of him financially, give him a proper term contract, assurances about his future and plug the gap in the academy, the highly rated Richard Naylor and Leigh Bromby should be enticed back into the fold.
The sheriff is at the last chance saloon to stop this season being wasted, he must give Redfearn time and support and back him, not sack him.

Leeds United: A stark reminder of how Cellino works – Hay

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/10/14
by Phil Hay
Darko Milanic had his family with him at Elland Road yesterday – the first time any of them had ventured to Leeds – and they were in the vicinity when word of his sacking spread.
It was left to Nicola Salerno, Leeds United’s sporting director, to deliver the news on behalf of Massimo Cellino and it was clear in that instant why Milanic came to England without his nearest and dearest in tow. Here one day, gone the next; a club where the survival rate of head coaches is at epidemic proportions.
Football is a ruthless game and those who work in it know the risks but regardless of Milanic’s compatibility with Leeds, Cellino’s treatment of him has been horribly harsh. Milanic gave up a job at Sturm Graz to come here – bought his way out of a contract, no less – and he was hacked down in no time, on the one afternoon when his family chose to attend a game. They might never forget their experience of the hours they spent at Elland Road.
Few others will lament Milanic’s dismissal but largely because they learned nothing about him, and the little he demonstrated in 32 days did not inspire a groundswell of confidence. No wins in six, three points from 18 and perplexing spells of indecision underwhelmed the Slovenian’s audience but the clue with Milanic was in his background. Cellino could see at the start that Milanic knew nothing about United’s squad and less still about the Championship. Four weeks was no time for a proper education, however annoyed Cellino felt with his initial performance.
It seemed from the outset that Milanic was feeling his way into the job, which is not to say that better results lay ahead. In his six games as head coach he was prone to leaving his players to sweat as pressure built and unwilling to trust in the ability of his squad to take the opposition to the cleaners. Yesterday’s loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a previous defeat at Rotherham United found Milanic sitting on his hands with Leeds a goal up and badly in need of another. Cellino said he first decided to sack the 46-year-old after last week’s 1-1 draw at Norwich City, a game in which United held back cautiously either side of Souleymane Doukara’s equaliser.
If that was Milanic’s natural tack – and those who watched him coach in Europe said he generally swayed towards defensive tactics – then his tenure was always going to misfire. The word ‘negative’ had started to stick by full-time yesterday. If, on the other hand, he is an adventurous man at heart then he will wish on reflection that he’d released the hounds immediately. Time is no longer a commodity at Leeds. The first three months of this season have shown us that.
Impatience rules and the impatience is Cellino’s. As Milanic flies home to relative obscurity, attention turns again to United’s owner and the line between eccentricity and irresponsibility. It was reckless on Cellino’s part to install David Hockaday as head coach in June and then shoot him after six games in charge.
It is incredibly inept to have sourced a replacement who survived for the same number of games and half the number of days. Cellino is turning now to an alternative he disregarded last month, the club’s academy boss Neil Redfearn. It contradicts the evidence of the past 12 weeks to hope that he knows what he’s doing.
“Three points from six games,” an irate Cellino said yesterday night as he confirmed Milanic’s exit. “That is relegation (form).” It certainly is. But the slide in that direction is not simply a by-product of the sport on the pitch, mediocre though much of it has been. The sea-changes, the meddling, the impulsiveness, the volatility; all of it has contributed to a season which cannot get going.
Every day is another drama.
Fifteen new players came to Leeds in the summer. All of them have dealt with three different coaches – Redfearn included – and three different personalities in as many months. Some who played under Hockaday were banished by Milanic. Some who played under Milanic might now be sidelined by Redfearn. Brought in from Italy, South America and Paraguay, anyone who felt far away from home to begin with doubtless will feel further away now. The scenario at Leeds is not a crisis, it’s an inevitability. And the only obvious solution is the delegation of authority and trust by the man at the top.
Cellino likes to be all things to all men, the ultimate worker. He has no chief executive and no desire for a chief executive. He sees the job of a chief executive as a duplication of his own and he prefers not to weaken his control. He spends countless hours working on complicated transfer deals – Adryan’s loan from Flamengo a prime example – but shows nothing like the same reverence towards coaches.
Players are beautiful, head coaches are not. It’s as if he thinks that footballers have skill far beyond his own but coaching he could handle. Coaching he could handle if only he didn’t have so much else to worry about.
The fact that Cellino has Redfearn to fall back on might be his saving grace. In all his time as owner of Leeds, Cellino has shown few people more respect than he has United’s academy boss. He likes Redfearn and rates him, and Redfearn, to his credit, is willing to speak his mind when he and Cellino talk. Those who know Redfearn are adamant that in his four games as caretaker, he picked the line-up he wanted to pick and dropped players as he saw fit. The squad had nothing against Milanic when the Slovenian beat the 49-year-old to the job full-time but they were largely supportive of the idea of Redfearn keeping the job. As a group, they can be trusted to play for him now.
Cellino and Redfearn sat together during yesterday’s defeat to Wolves, a sure sign with hindsight that Milanic was on thin ice.
Redfearn kept his distance from the first team during Milanic’s reign and would not have been present at Elland Road without an invitation. The crowd chanted for Redfearn as Wolves wore Leeds down and Milanic was duly fired around 6pm after a conversation between Cellino and Salerno.
These are increasingly delicate days for Cellino. His money and commitment have earned him legitimate popularity in Leeds but the next few months have the potential to get messy: a season on the edge, the repurchase of Elland Road unconfirmed, the shadow of the Football League continuing to hover and Giuseppe Bellusci facing allegations of racism. It is genuinely time for some reassuring news. As for Milanic, he leaves with the same mystique he brought with him in the first place. Who was he and what did he really have to offer long-term? How much of this was his fault?
“Everyone has pressure,” Milanic said on his first day in the job. “This is not new to me.”
Welcome to Leeds, Darko. And farewell.

Johnny Giles: Massimo Cellino should "get out" of Leeds United

Sports Mole 26/10/14
Sian Cowper
Former Leeds United midfielder Johnny Giles has said that owner Massimo Cellino should "get out" of the club.
The Italian sacked manager Darko Milanic after just 32 days in charge following yesterday's 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, making him the second manager to be sacked at Elland Road this season, and the third since Cellino took charge in April.
Giles, who won two league titles during his 12-year spell at the club from 1963 to 1975, told BBC Radio 5 live: "I think the best thing he could do is get out of the club and make way for a new owner who could work in the best interests of the fans."
Milanic had replaced Dave Hockaday, who was dismissed in August after a 70-day stint at the club, while Brian McDermott left the club over the summer.
Academy boss Neil Redfearn is expected to take permanent charge of the first team from Monday.

Official club statement: Darko Milanic

leedsunited.com 25/10/14
Leeds United can confirm that Darko Milanic has parted company with the club.
The Slovenian, who arrived from Austrian side Sturm Graz at the end of September, picked up three points from a possible 18 during his six-game stay at Elland Road. Milanic oversaw three draws and three defeats, with the 2-1 loss at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers proving to be his final game at the helm.
Club president Massimo Cellino said: "I want to apologise to the supporters, they deserve better results."
Neil Redfearn will now take charge of first-team training on Monday morning.

Redfearn back in after Leeds United sack Milanic

Yorkshire Post 25/10/14
NEIL REDFEARN has been promoted to become Leeds United’s permanent head coach with immediate effect following the dramatic sacking of Darko Milanic.
The Slovenian was fired shortly after today’s 2-1 home loss to Wolves, the sixth and final game of his tenure, which failed to yield a victory.
It ended his reign in charge at 32 days, with his predecessor David Hockaday lasting 70 days.
Redfearn, who has taken charge of United on a caretaker basis on three previous occasions, took ten points out of 12 from his four games at the helm in a temporary capacity following Hockaday’s axing.
Redfearn presided over Leeds’ last win back on September 20, a 3-0 derby victory over Huddersfield.
On the decision to sack former Sturm Graz head coach Milanic, Cellino said: “I have given the order to fire him.
“I made a mistake with this guy. He is negative, he has a losing mentality. He has three points from six games, that is relegation (form).
“Neil Redfearn will take training on Monday. He is the new head coach, 100 per cent.”
Milanic had earlier accepted the frustrations of supporters who were calling for Redfearn to be appointed during long periods of the second half.
“I understand football, and I can understand this situation, when a new head coach has only a few points from six games, I can understand that,” Milanic said. “I am disappointed because we deserve some more points, This is not a good position for me and the team, but I still see good things that we make. I believe it (he can get it right).
“My job is to do this better, to improve. I am sure this one second half is not the work of one month. I work with my team a lot and it’s a young team without a lot of experience. We played a good first half, had chances, we had one goal. Then we began to play backwards.”

Leeds United sack manager Darko Milanic after just 32 days in charge and replace him with Neil Redfearn

Telegraph 25/10/14
Darko Milanic's six-game reign - the same as predecessor David Hockaday - ends after Saturday's 2-1 loss to Wolves at Elland Road
By Luke Edwards
Massimo Cellino, Leeds United’s notoriously trigger-happy Italian owner, has sacked manager Darko Milanic only 32 days and six matches after appointing him.
Cellino dismissed the hapless Slovenian with an apology to the club’s fans. “I want to apologise to the supporters, they deserve better results,” Cellino said.
Neil Redfearn, the academy coach who became caretaker manager earlier this season when Cellino sacked Dave Hockaday - also after six matches - will succeed Milanic, becoming Leeds' third permanent appointment of the season.
Milanic bought out his contract with Austrian club Sturm Graz last month in order to join Leeds but failed to oversee a single victory during his brief period at Elland Road.
In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Milanic said he believed he would improve the club’s results, but fans chanted the name of Redfearn, who watched the game with Cellino and took the team to 10 points from four matches during his previous spell in charge. Within half an hour of Milanic making those comments, the club announced he had “parted company” with the club.
Cellino, 57, sacked 36 managers during 22 years in control of his previous club Cagliari. He gave Milanic a two-year contract at Leeds. At the time, he said he could not be sure why he had appointed him, saying: “I don’t know [why I’ve chosen him]. The coaches are like watermelons. You find out about them when you open them. His particular qualities? He’s good looking, what can I tell you? He does not talk much and is very pragmatic. I like him. He is a very cool guy.”
Leeds took a first-half lead against Wolves, but conceded twice in the second, and Milanic said he realised he was under pressure after his side slumped to 16th in the Championship.
He said: “I understand football, and I can understand this situation, when a new head coach has only a few points from six games, I can understand that [the fans calling for Redfearn].
“I am disappointed because we deserve some more points. This is not a good position for me and the team, but I still see good things that we make. I believe it [I can get it right]. My job is to do this better, to improve. I am sure this second half is not the work of one month. I work with my team a lot.”

Darko Milanic sacked by Leeds United after just 32 DAYS in charge at Elland Road with Neil Redfearn set to take over top job

Mail 25/10/14
By WAYNE GARDINER, PRESS ASSOCIATION
Leeds' managerial circus returned on Saturday evening as trigger-happy owner Massimo Cellino parted company with Darko Milanic after six games in charge.
Milanic's six-game reign - the same as predecessor David Hockaday - ended almost immediately after the 2-1 loss to Wolves at Elland Road.
Neil Redfearn - who bridged the gap between Hockaday and Milanic with 10 points from 12 as caretaker - will take over as new head coach.
Cellino asked director of football Nicola Salerno to deliver the news to Milanic shortly after he had defended his position in his post-match press conference.
'I want to apologise to the supporters, they deserve better results,' Cellino said after ending Milanic's reign after just 32 days.
That is a statistic to make Brian Clough's 'damned' 44 days look long-serving, but Cellino has never been a man to hang around. In his 20-year spell with Italian side Cagliari he earned the nickname 'the manager eater' after removing 36 managers. Since arriving at Leeds in January he has sacked Brian McDermott twice, Hockaday and now Milanic.
The Italian said he had got the right man after recruiting Milanic - a winner of nine trophies with Slovenian side Maribor - from Sturm Graz on September 23.
However, a failure to win any of his six games in charge and a perceived negative attitude has cost the 46-year-old who travelled to England on a one-way ticket without his family.
Redfearn is now to be given the job on a permanent basis, with the majority of Leeds fans baffled as to why the 49-year-old academy coach did not get given the nod after his successful caretaker stint.
He watched the Wolves loss with Cellino and sections of the crowd sang his name as Leeds went behind to Leon Clarke's 85th-minute winner.

I Accept Responsibility, But My Team Lack Experience – Leeds Boss Darko Milanic After Defeat To Wolves

Inside Futbol 25/10/14
Leeds United manager Darko Milanic has accepted responsibility for his side's 2-1 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers today, but insisted his team do not yet have enough experience to maintain their level of performance throughout a match.
Milanic, who is still waiting for his first win as Leeds boss after six games in charge, saw his side take the lead through Mirco Antenucci in the 18th minute.
However, Leeds' performance dipped in the second half as Wolves applied pressure and the visitors equalised when James Henry took advantage of a Giuseppe Bellusci mistake in the 66th minute.
With both sides aiming to find a winner there were chances at either end, but Wolves came up trumps when substitute Leon Clark side-footed the ball home with just five minutes left.
Milanic made all his substitutions, bringing on Luke Murphy for Alex Mowatt, Casper Sloth for Adryan and Brian Montenegro for Tommaso Bianchi.
"It's not a great feeling after we lose the game today, it's a bad feeling", he told LUTV.
"We lost control of the match we lost our passing play in the second half.
"It was very good [in the first half], we created opportunities, we played well, the opposition were not really dangerous. It was a good performance on our side, we scored the goal and made a few chances.
"We were prepared, we talked about this moment in the dressing room that we have to begin like we began in the first minutes, this means we have control and pass the ball, but it didn't happen. This means the opposition did well and we had problems with them."
And Milanic says his side lack the vital ingredient of experience, which means they cannot play well throughout an entire match.
"We are not a team with a lot of experience. That is clear to see in the game. We cannot maintain the same level in the game. We played well, very well in the first half and then in the second half when the opposition were very dynamic and played forward very quick we had problems. We also lost our calm."
The Slovenian boss does ultimately accept responsibility for the Whites throwing away a winning position however.
"Look I'm head coach and I have responsibility, but also we have to train hard and the team is young and my job is to choose the team, that's right, it means it is my responsibility. It is also my responsibility to change someone and it is their responsibility to go onto the pitch and fight."

Leeds United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2: Milanic’s wait for first win goes on

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/10/14
by Phil Hay
Darko Milanic’s wait for a first win as Leeds United head coach goes on after his side allowed a 1-0 lead to slip at at Elland Road.
The Slovenian appeared to be on course for his maiden victory with Wolverhampton Wanderers trailing to a goal from Mirco Antenucci at half-time but James Henry’s finish and a late strike from Leon Clarke earned the visitors three points.
Antenucci struck on 18 minutes to give United control of a game they dominated early on and Wolves were rarely allowed to look like a side who started the day in the Championship’s play-off positions.
But Milanic watched Leeds come under increasing pressure in the second half and goalkeeper Marco Silvestri was unable to stop Henry’s fierce volley in the 67th minute.
He was beaten again by Clarke five minutes from time as a spate of attacks finally told.
Steve Morison was named in United’s starting line-up for the first time in 17 months and he was involved in the first meaningful attack on 15 minutes.
A chipped pass from Jason Pearce set Morison clear on the right-hand side of Wolves’ box and his low shot drew a diving save from Carl Ikeme. Alex Mowatt met the rebound with a low effort which flew into the side-netting.
The opening goal came three minutes later, however, with Morison involved again. The striker collected Alex Mowatt’s long ball and fed it inside to Antenucci who took his time and buried a precise shot to the left of Ikeme.
Wolves struggled to muster a response and Kevin McDonald’s 25-yard effort on 24 minutes - high over Silvestri’s crossbar - was symptomatic of their frustrating start and Mowatt should have scored a second goal when he drove Morison’s cut-back straight at Ikeme from seven yards out.
Dave Edwards’ wayward volley was another fleeting opportunity for a Wolves side who were never allowed to get going, and Bianchi went closer with a glancing header at the other end.
Silvestri kept out a low shot from Henry - Wolves only consistent threat - to maintain United’s advantage at the end of the first half and it was no surprise to see Kenny Jackett make a change at the break, replacing Edwards with Clarke.
The visitors came into the game after the restart but struggled to threaten Silvestri until the hour when the keeper’s diving save repelled a goalbound header from Nouha Dicko.
Henry eventually forced an equaliser seven minutes later, reacting to a ricochet off Giuseppe Bellusci, nipped in behind Milanic’s defence and lashing a volley into the roof of Silvestri’s net.
Leeds rarely looked like regaining their advantage and Lee Evans wasted a good opportunity for Wolves in the 70th minute when he popped up in space on the edge of United’s box and sliced a poor attempt wide.
Substitute Rajiv van La Parra could have won the game for Jackett’s side but bundled the ball beyond an open goal after Henry’s cross left Silvestri exposed, but Clarke made no mistake when Matt Doherty picked him out with a cut-back inside the box with 84 minutes gone.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leeds United: Cellino’s tax evasion trial delayed

Yorkshire Evening Post 22/10/14
by Phil Hay
Massimo Cellino’s trial over a second tax evasion charge has been delayed again after the judge in the case abstained from hearing it.
According to Italian media, Dr Sandra Lepore has stepped aside and will allow a replacement to hear Cellino’s trial having previously convicted Leeds United’s owner of a separate tax offence.
Italian prosecutors accuse Cellino of avoiding around £75,000 in import duty owed on a private yacht, Lucky 23.
Lepore was due to rule on that allegation but has already overseen the case of Nelie, a different boat which Cellino was found guilty of failing to pay tax on during a hearing in Cagliari in March.
The 58-year-old received a fine of around £400,000 and the conviction was initially used by the Football League to bar him from buying a majority stake in Leeds.
Cellino overturned that decision on appeal and completed his takeover of United in April but the Nelie case continues to threaten the his ownership at Elland Road.
The Football League is awaiting a copy of Lepore’s full written judgement as it seeks to establish whether Cellino’s tax offence was deliberately dishonest.
Cellino successfully challenged the League’s attempt to block his takeover on the grounds that the League could not prove if he was guilty of dishonesty without Lepore’s written verdict.
The Guardian newspaper recently quoted what it said were extracts from Lepore’s report, condemning a “bogus corporate screen” and Cellino’s “Machiavellian simulation”.
The League is yet to receive a copy of the judgement, however, and both Cellino and his legal representatives in England say they have not seen it, despite an Italian lawyer who represents Cellino claiming to have a copy in his possession.
The League could bring misconduct charges against United’s owner if he fails to supply them with Lepore’s judgement in the weeks ahead.
Under the rules of the League’s Owners and Directors Test, club owners are required to inform the governing body of changes to their status which might breach the rules or disqualify them.
The League’s board could attempt to bar Cellino for a second time if it finds that his offence in the Nelie case was deliberately dishonest, though Cellino’s conviction in that instance will be spent under UK law in March of next year.
The League’s rules on owners and directors do not apply to spent convictions.
But Cellino remains at risk of a second conviction with the case of Lucky 23 still pending.
The trial was due to proceed in Cagliari today but Lepore has removed herself from proceedings to prevent a conflict of interest.
A new date for the trial has not been announced.

Norwich 1 Leeds United 1: Doukara ensures doughty work by Leeds is rewarded

Yorkshire Post 22/10/14
LEEDS UNITED showed great resilience to add to Norwich City’s frustrations by ensuring the high-fliers have now gone five home games without a win.
The Canaries were unable to build on a headed goal just before the hour mark from captain Russell Martin.
Leeds were back on level terms inside four minutes thanks to a well taken effort from Souleymane Doukara and the visitors then put up the barricades to ensure they went home with a hard-earned point.
Both sides went into the game with an indifferent run of results behind them and it showed in the early stages, with goalmouth action in short supply.
But the Canaries gradually began to get a foothold in the game and almost took the lead after 14 minutes when Cameron Jerome just failed to get the required touch on an excellent cross from Josh Murphy, who was making his first league start.
From then on Norwich totally dominated the half, with Leeds struggling to get past the halfway line.
Their only break came midway through when referee Mark Clattenburg halted the game after complaints from Jerome, who appeared to be upset by something said by Leeds defender Giuseppe Bellusci.
After talking with both managers the official let the Italian off with a warning although he was swiftly brandishing a yellow card at Jerome when he clattered into the Leeds man.
When play resumed, Kyle Lafferty was just wide with a snap shot, and Nathan Redmond brought a good save out of Marco Silvestri. But Norwich ended up drawing a blank in the first half for the ninth game in succession.
They quickly resumed the attack after the break and finally got the goal they deserved after 59 minutes when Redmond’s corner was headed home by Martin.
Having defended so well it was a real sucker punch for Leeds, but they were back level after 63 minutes after making full use of virtually their first incisive attack of the game.
It ended with Adryan deftly slipping the ball through to Doukara who moved into the area before beating John Ruddy with a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal game out of the blue and gave Leeds renewed vigour at the back and they defended superbly for the rest of the game to keep Norwich at bay.
The Football Association seems likely to look into claims that Bellusci aimed a racial slur at Norwich striker Jerome.
Referee Clattenburg spoke with both benches immediately after the off-the-ball clash and will submit a report to the FA later today, detailing the incident and Jerome’s claims.
United head coach Darko Milanic declined to comment at full-time, saying he would speak with Bellusci during the coach journey home to Yorkshire, but Norwich manager Neil Adams confirmed Jerome’s allegations of racism shortly after the final whistle.
He said the players were spoken to at half-time with representatives of each of the clubs.

Milanic press conference on Leeds United race abuse probe

Yorkshire Evening Post 22/10/14
by Phil Hay
Massimo Cellino rallied behind Giuseppe Bellusci as the Football Association launched an investigation into allegations of racial abuse made against the Italian centre-back.
Leeds United’s owner said he would support Bellusci against claims that the 25-year-old racially abused Cameron Jerome during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City.
Bellusci will face a minimum five-game ban if he is charged and found guilty by the FA’s disciplinary commission but United’s £1.6m summer signing is denying making racist comments and has been promised the full backing of his club.
“Bellusci swears to me he said nothing racist,” Cellino said. “I believe him and and I’ll support him.
“Bellusci is no racist. I spoke with him and he said ‘you must be joking, I said nothing like this to him (Jerome).’ He is surprised by this. He is shocked.”
The YEP understands that FA officials are planning to interview Bellusci at Elland Road tomorrow and Cellino said: “I’ll write to them to clarify my position on Bellusci and racism.”
The governing body has received a report from match official Mark Clattenburg and is preparing to begin the process of contacting both clubs, reviewing video footage and formally speaking to Jerome.
Jerome is believed to have told Clattenburg that Bellusci had called him a “negro”.
Bellusci – signed by Leeds from Serie A club Catania for £1.6m in August – would face a minimum five-game ban if he was found guilty of racist abuse but he received the unequivocal support of Cellino after speaking with United’s Italian owner yesterday.
Cellino told the YEP: “Bellusci is no racist. I spoke with him and he said ‘you must be joking, I said nothing like this to him (Jerome).’ He is surprised by this. He is shocked.
“I don’t allow racists at this club and I won’t allow racists at this club ever. If one of my players is a racist, I’ll kick his a**e and kick him out before the FA has a chance.
“Bellusci says he spoke (to Jerome) in Italian. I don’t know if he (Jerome) speaks Italian too but Bellusci swears to me he said nothing racist. He was p****d off, sure, because he got hit in the neck and the face but he denies anything racist. I believe him and I’ll support him.”
Cellino said: “I’ll write to them to clarify my position on Bellusci and racism. If any Leeds player was shown to be a racist, he’d be out. That’s my philosophy and my promise.”
Jerome complained to Clattenburg immediately after his clash with Bellusci at Carrow Road and the referee halted the game briefly to speak to the striker and both benches.
The incident was included in Clattenburg’s match report and a spokesman for the FA said: “The FA can confirm it is investigating an incident of alleged discriminatory abuse in the Norwich City versus Leeds United fixture at Carrow Road on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
“The FA takes seriously any allegations of this type.”
United head coach Darko Milanic declined to comment immediately after the game, saying he would discuss the matter with Bellusci during the coach journey back to Yorkshire. Norwich manager Neil Adams said: “Cameron’s alleged that a racist remark’s been made. Because of that, Mark Clattenburg – who I thought handled the incident really well – came over to explain to Darko and me what I’m telling you now.
“He (Clattenburg) spoke to Cameron because of the way Cameron reacted. He spoke to the players at half-time with representatives of each of the clubs, and statements will be made. Mark will submit a report to the FA. It’ll be dealt with from there.”
Clattenburg did not punish either player for the confrontation between them but Jerome was booked moments later after another collision with Bellusci.
“I can’t comment any further because it’s an allegation,” Adams said. “Of course we’ll back our player and I’m sure Leeds will back their player. The situation was dealt with well.”
Jerome addressed the incident on Twitter but said he would not publicly reveal the exact details of Bellusci’s alleged comments. The Huddersfield-born striker tweeted: “On what was actually said would not be fair for me to say at this point but it will be a matter for the governing body to deal with. As all will know an allegation has been made by myself to the referee in which he made note of and will write it in his match report.”
Kick It Out, a group who campaign against racism in football, revealed that it had contacted Norwich to offer support to Jerome.
“Kick It Out is aware of an allegation of a racist remark made towards Norwich City striker Cameron Jerome by Leeds United defender Giuseppe Bellusci,” a statement from the group read.
“The FA has confirmed that it is investigating the incident and we have been in touch with Norwich and Cameron to offer him our support and any assistance he may require. We now await the outcome of the FA’s investigation.”

Norwich City 1 Leeds United 1: Douk’s strike earns the Whites a point

Yorkshire Evening Post 21/10/14
by Phil Hay
From Darko Milanic’s point of view, a small shift forward is better than another step back and worse results than a draw atCarrow Road will chequer his record as Leeds United head coach.
It was cold and attritional at Norwich City and the autumn weather was not much better but Milanic took a point away with him – his third from five games – as all around him continued to ask when the dam in front of him would finally burst.
Leeds have not won since the day of his appointment, though Norwich themselves have done so only once and are lodged in the Championship’s play-off positions regardless.
Milanic needs a victory to come, for his own sanity as much as anything, but it will help his cause in the meantime to persevere in the absence of many more defeats.
Norwich looked more likely than Leeds to prise three points from the game, a contest as memorable as the slow drag of the A47 to Norwich, but the match was scrappy and hard work all round.
United created little, as they often do, but did not give enough away for City to feel desperately aggrieved; the better team, no doubt, but a team lacking in form and conviction.
The same can be said of the squad at Leeds and for Milanic the questions linger. Is his diamond midfield the obvious formation in a squad of more than 30 senior professionals?
Can Leeds thrive by allowing the opposition as much of the game as Norwich had? The wait for a moment of real clarity goes on but there were small flickers of it in the second half.
Trailing to a cheap header from Russell Martin on 58 minutes, Leeds replied four minutes later as Adryan broke free, created space for Souleymane Doukara and invited a delicious finish from a striker who swallows chances when the mood takes him.
It must have made Milanic wonder if the attacking players in his squad should be biding their time for as long as they did. A winning goal was too much to ask in the end, even if United owed their hosts a kick where it hurts.
The Leeds connections were there in Norwich’s squad, albeit in smaller numbers than a year ago when Robert Snodgrass and Luciano Becchio moved with the first team at Carrow Road.
United developed a habit of losing prospects or unfulfilled potential to City but the seasons are passing and the exodus from Elland Road no longer feels so recent or raw. Jonathan Howson, the ex-Leeds captain who started the game, turns 27 next year and Bradley Johnson will be 28 in April. They and others have moved on since the days when United were antagonising their own support by allowing them to leave.
If they or Leeds had scores to settle with each other, that sub-plot was lost to bigger and more pertinent issues this evening.
As a club, United have not progressed far enough to convince anyone that Howson and Johnson were wrong to move on. Back in the same division as their old club, Howson and Johnson did not have much reason to throw stones either. City sought a first win in four and Milanic sought a first win. Both were disappointed.
Milanic had victory at his fingertips at Rotherham United on Friday but a result went begging during a second half in which his players struggled to cope with Rotherham’s change of tack and Milanic himself failed to adapt his line-up as a storm gathered after half-time.
There were bound to be casualties in Norwich and Milanic’s starting line-up saw two: Stephen Warnock dropped to create room for Sam Byram at right-back and give Gaetano Berardi another whirl at left-back. Adryan also got the nod, and his impact as a substitute away at Rotherham merited a start.
Milanic trusted nonetheless in his diamond midfield, the formation which is coming to define him at Leeds. Norwich had the means and the width to exploit that system but the loss of Wes Hoolahan to injury saw Neil Adams adopt a four-man midfield, with Howson in the middle of it.
The conflicting styles did not produce a spectacle of the match. There were moments when the game threatened to open up and yield a goal but too few for either coach to think that they had made the most of a chilly evening in Norwich.
City’s openings in the first half came largely from cracks in United’s defence. Howson drove the ball close enough to Marco Silvestri for the goalkeeper to claim it in the eighth minute and Alexander Tettey scuffed a shot wide after Jason Pearce lost control of a high ball but Norwich had wobbles of their own.
Mirco Antenucci tried and failed to pick out a net left empty when keeper John Ruddy drove a clearance against his back near a corner flag, and a corner from Alex Mowatt drew a deflection which Ruddy did well to keep out of his net in the 13th minute. For a while, the contest was a test of nerve.
United were content to lie deep, bringing Norwich onto them and leaving space further up the field. In amongst the cat-and-mouse football, the most compelling incident was a confrontation between Giuseppe Bellusci and Cameron Jerome which Silvestri broke up before it could get out of hand.
Referee Mark Clattenburg spoke with both benches, both players and others on the pitch but showed no cards. Allegations of racist abuse against Bellusci came later. When the same players collided again seconds later, Bellusci lay on the pitch holding his head and Jerome was booked.
As Leeds tried and failed to bring Adryan into the game, Antenucci and Doukara grew increasingly isolated up front.
Norwich hogged the ball and Kyle Lafferty hooked an effort wide from inside the box after half an hour. Silvestri then dealt with Nathan Redmond’s rising strike with a two-handed save. Redmond had swapped wings moments earlier, looking for some encouragement.
He found a little while Milanic fretted over a litany of stray passes. Half-time suited him more than Adams and he took the chance to adjust his team, moving Adryan and Doukara out wide in a front three. But City pressed on in laboured fashion and opened the scoring in the 58th minute when United’s defence went missing, leaving an unmarked Martin to aim a free header into the net.
The soft concession rankled but in no time Leeds were level. Adryan found a rare piece of possession deep in Norwich’s half on 63 minutes and fed Doukara who held off Tettey and dinked a precise finish around Ruddy.
It sucked the wind from City’s sails and Adams’ players were unable to raise themselves again, producing no more than a shot from Jerome which flew across Silvestri. The mood towards the end was that of two clubs aspiring to better, struggling to wriggle their way out of a rut.

Norwich 1-1 Leeds: Guiseppe Bellusci alleged to have made racist remark to Cameron Jerome during draw

Mail 21/10/14
By DEREK DAVIS FOR THE DAILY MAIL
Norwich City's 1-1 draw with Leeds United was overshadowed by an alleged racist remark by Guiseppe Bellusci at Cameron Jerome.
Russell Martin looked as if his header was going to hand City their first home win in five and strengthen their position in the top six.
But Leeds grabbed an unlikely equaliser through Souleymane Doukara to ease the pressure on manager Darko Milanic.
The game took a nasty turn midway through the first half when Bellusci and Jerome scuffled on the edge of the 18-yard box with the ball well out of the way and Leeds keeper Marco Silvestri got in between them.
Referee Mark Clattenburg then took Jerome to the bench and spoke to Neil Adams and the fourth official, before also having a word with Italian Bellusci.
No further action was taken at the time but moments later Jerome was booked for a heavy challenge on the Leeds defender.
Norwich boss Neil Adams said: 'Cameron has alleged a racist remark was made towards him.
'Because of that Mark Clattenburg came over to the sidelines to explain to me and Darko what had happened.
'I feel Mark Clattenburg has handled the situation very well. The statements have been taken now and Mark will make his report to the Football League.
'He has not heard the remark and all parties will make statements and it will be followed up through the correct channels.
'It is an allegation and we back our player but I don't want to prejudice anything.'
Leeds head coach Darko Milanic would not be drawn on the incident and said: 'It is difficult for me to comment on something which is new for me and I will leave it to other people in the club to deal with.'
In the game itself, Leeds had the first sniff of a chance when City keeper John Ruddy made a hash of a clearance, which crashed into Mirco Antenucci but his shot ran harmlessly across an empty goal.
Marco Silvestri, the Leeds keeper, saved a low shot from Jonny Howson and gleefully clutched an Alex Tettey 25-yarder, while Jerome went close with a flick on from a Nathan Redmond cross.
The inevitable breakthrough came in the 59th minute when Martin pushed away the defender and headed in a Redmond corner, unmarked, from 12 yards.
But four minutes later Leeds leveled when Brazilian midfielder Adryan played in Souleymane Doukara who managed to evade the attentions of three City defenders before beating John Ruddy from 20 yards for his fifth goal in 10 games.
After the two goals in three minutes, the game resumed its pattern of Norwich attacking from all angles and Leeds defending gamely.
Jerome went wide, Redmond hit at the keeper, Steven Whittaker headed goalwards but was thwarted while Tettey was wasteful with long range efforts.
After a storming start to the season former table-toppers Canaries, who had not won at home in the previous four matches, so were intent on attack with Kyle Lafferty causing problems with his physicality up front and had a couple of half-decent efforts on goal.
Leeds also started the season reasonably well after Neal Redfearn took over from David Hockaday but have gone south since Darko Milanic was handed the head coach job last month.
Despite a powerful attack, and handing Brazilian under-20s international Adryan his first start after signing on loan from Flamengo, United seemed happy to defend deep with numbers and not lose the game, rather than show any real ambition.
The Canaries had two penalty appeals waved away late on by an unmoved Clattenburg to compound their frustration.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Milanic gives his opinion on Adryan's debut display

Here is the City 20/10/14
John Verrall
Leeds head coach Darko Milanic has praised Adryan after his debut performance.
Leeds United manager Darko Milanic believes that Adryan looked very dangerous when he made his debut against Rotherham United on Friday night.
Adryan came off the bench for the last half-hour of the match and he showed all his quality, despite a brief cameo.
The Brazilian was not able to stop Leeds slipping to a 2-1 defeat to their Yorkshire rivals, but he did show a lot of promise on the pitch and Milanic also felt the 20-year-old was a threat.
"Adryan was very dangerous," he said to the club's official site. "He made good movement in between the lines. He played very well for 30 minutes and did a good job.”
Adryan had three shots during his substitute appearance, but it was his build-up play which really caught the eye.
With twists and turns aplenty, the playmaker looked Leeds' brightest player in the second-half and he surely will be nearing a start.
Leeds have struggled for goals under Milanic so far and the Slovenian is under pressure to start collecting points quickly, after only picking up two out of the 12 available to him in his first four games in charge.
It is a poor run of form, which means Leeds are locked in the bottom-half of the table and this slump needs to be stopped quickly.
The Whites have a chance to get back to winning ways tomorrow evening when they take on high-flying Norwich City at Carrow Road.

It wasn't enough - Darko Milanic gives his Rotherham verdict

leedsunited.com 20/10/14
United head coach Darko Milanič has spoken of his disappointment after losing out to Rotherham on Friday night.
United came away from the New York Stadium with a 2-1 defeat and the head coach says his team tried but in the end it wasn’t enough.
“I am not happy but the team is also not happy with this situation,” said the head coach. “We fought on Friday and tried to play football but it wasn’t enough.
“At the beginning we did very well. We had the game under control and we had good possession. Our opponents were not dangerous, we were.
“We scored our goal and in the last few minutes of the first half they put crosses into our box and used long throws well and they put us under pressure.
“In the second half they started really well and put us under a lot of pressure. There was a lot of challenges in our box. This is a good style of football for them.”
After leading at half time Rotherham came out and dominated proceedings in the second 45 minutes.
“We knew that they would play with a lot of long passes, lots of crosses and play simple football,” said Darko.
“But we made a mistake and lost the ball before their second goal.
“Our midfield players didn’t have enough time to think on Friday night to play quickly. We had problems in midfield.”
Although the head coach is still searching for his first win he praised the effort shown by his side.
“I have to say that the players gave everything on Friday,” added the boss. “The team was 100% in the game.
“At 2-1 we had some good chances and shots. Adryan was very dangerous. He made good movement in between the lines.
“He played very well for 30 minutes and did a good job.”

Milanic was not behind the decision to bench Adryan, Cellino was

Here is the City 19/10/14
Tim Poole
The Leeds owner is said to have made the call directly himself.
Leeds United fans can't be blamed for their frustration that Adryan did not start against Rotherham United on Friday.
The Brazilian showed plenty of promise when he came on in the second half and some Leeds fans feel his inclusion from the start could have made a huge difference during the 2-1 defeat.
After all, supporters of the Yorkshire side had been waiting eagerly for some weeks to see the 20-year-old make his Leeds debut.
He was, even, in the starting line-up to face Rotherham. That was until a late change took him out of the equation and back to the substitutes' bench.
According to the Daily Mirror, however, that was not the decision of boss Darko Milanic.
No, the national newspaper report that owner Massimo Cellino himself was directly responsible for the call.
A 'club insider' is said to have confirmed that the Italian instructed for the Brazilian not to start, despite not even being present at the New York Stadium. His absence was apparently due to the fact that the game was being played on the 17th of October - a number he deems 'unlucky.'

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Partick Thistle new boy Freddy Frans lifts lid on Leeds fiasco

Sky Sports 18/10/14
Partick Thistle new boy Freddy Frans has revealed the chaos that surrounded his proposed move to Leeds United, prior to sealing a move to the Scottish Premiership.
The Belgian centre-back was released by Lierse in his homeland in the summer after a change of ownership, and looked set to secure a switch to Elland Road.
Then-Leeds boss David Hockaday was interested in the move, and invited Frans to have talks with new Whites owner Massimo Cellino, and that is when things took a rather strange turn.
“I thought I had seen everything when I left Belgium – but then I arrived at Leeds," Frans told the Daily Record.
"My agent spoke to the owner and he said if Hockaday liked me I’d sign. I played two games and he said he wanted to sign me.
“I had to give him details about my star signs and all this stuff. He doesn’t like the number 17 or the colour purple among other things.
“We heard a few strange stories, like the one about Paddy Kenny not getting a deal because his birthday was on the 17th. Crazy.
“I was so happy to be signing for Leeds as well, it was a big step.
“But then I started to get suspicious as the deal wasn’t done and two Italian centre-backs arrived.
“Still Hockaday said he wanted me but they lost in a cup-tie to Brentford and he got sacked so I was back to Belgium.”
Frans also insisted that despite his recent turmoil, he is happy he put pen-to-paper on a three-month contract at Partick.
“I have only got three months but it’s perfect for me to prove I can win a new contract," Frans added.
“My wife will be coming over. She quit her job when we thought I was going to Leeds as we knew we wanted to go abroad.”

Rotherham United 2 Leeds 1: Rotherham battle back to leave Milanic still awaiting first win

Yorkshire Post 18/10/14
by Leon Wobschall at New York Stadium
THE sun was out, metaphorically speaking at least last night, but for Rotherham United and not Darko Milanic.
Ahead of the game, the Whites’ Slovenian head coach, without a win in his three games in charge, stated that his first victory would be akin to seeing the sun again. Truth is, the nights are drawing in.
Rotherham’s home clashes with Leeds tend to be dramatic and this was no exception with Steve Evans’s side producing a powerhouse second-half display which floored Leeds.
This after Leeds dominated much of the first half in which Mirco Antenucci fired them ahead on the half hour.
Alex Revell’s first goal of the season and first since his magnificent Wembley equaliser in the League Two play-off final against Leyton Orient plus a maiden Millers strike from record signing Jonson-Clarke Harris – just under two minutes after coming on and with his first telling touch – earned another joyous victory for the Millers.
While the Millers rode their luck to triumph on the previous league meeting between the clubs almost a decade ago, this was not a factor last night.
BBC Sports’ recent Price of Football Survey may have identified Rotherham as the most expensive match-day experience in Yorkshire, but it was cheap at half the price for home supporters last night.
For Leeds, who suffered televised derby misery earlier this term at Bradford City, there was again the pain of going ahead but ultimately being swept away.
The main saving grace was the late cameo of Adryan, bizarrely named in the line-up and then appearing on the bench on the official teamsheet.
Evans labelled the game as the biggest league occasion in the history of the Millers’ £20m stadium since its opening in July 2012. And the hosts followed up their victory over another former champion in Blackburn Rovers in their previous home game to draw level on points with Leeds.
It left Milanic still awaiting the sensation of victory as head coach and while upward trajectory was provided in the first half, it was the Millers who ultimately had the answers.
The pre-match mystery surrounded Adryan not starting, with Lewis Cook instead deployed in an advanced attacking role and the teenager was at the hub of a controlled opening half-hour from the visitors. The display was crowned by a sweetly-taken opener when Antenucci latched onto Souleymane’s Doukara’s slide-rule pass before coolly steering the ball home.
While many had been expecting an aggressive opening from the hosts, it was Leeds who set about the Millers, swarming all over them in midfield. Antenucci fired just wide from close in after good work by Alex Mowatt and it proved an early warning.
Enjoying plenty of possession, Leeds enjoyed a semblance of relative calm they probably had not envisaged with a rare moment of home threat coming when Matt Derbyshire saw his low shot held by Silvestri.
A polished Leeds opener then arrived with the Millers provided with more to ponder after a half when things rarely clicked.
Leeds did survive one moment of alarm before the interval when Ben Pringle’s cross was latched onto by Revell, whose precision header was clawed away by Silvestri.
The energetic Rudy Austin then blasted wide before gloss was almost put on a vibrant Leeds half with only last-ditch defending from Joe Skarz denying Doukara.
Leeds’s half it was with Milanic’s tactics working well, and the Millers will have been grateful they were staring at just a one-goal deficit at the interval.
Evans played his first hand at half-time, sending on Paul Taylor for the quiet Hall and it helped provide some badly-needed impetus.
Taylor saw a free-kick beaten away by Silvestri before Revell headed over with the visitors forced to dig in.
Mowatt shot at Collin when well-placed, but soon after the Millers, suddenly resembling their old selves, restored parity on 58 minutes.
Boyhood Leeds fan Frecklington saw his angled shot turned away by Silvestri with Revell converting the rebound.
Scenting hesistancy in the Leeds ranks, the Millers went for the jugular and the increasingly nervy visitors wilted seven minutes later when Clarke-Harris produced his magic moment out of nothing with a fierce long-range shot.
The call then came for Adryan, with the Brazilian soon going close with a low shot which was turned away onto a post by Collin before Clarke-Harris headed at Silvestri.
Adyran hit another effort wide before Revell almost sealed it with a late third. But it was Rotherham’s night. Again.

Leeds United: Whites boss Milanic unhappy

Yorkshire Evening Post 18/10/14
by Phil Hay
Darko Milanic admitted to a feeling of frustration after his run without a win as Leeds United head coach increased to four games during a 2-1 defeat at Rotherham United.
The Slovenian said he was “not happy with the situation” and aware of the pressure on him to deliver a victory after Rotherham overturned Mirco Antenucci’s first-half goal last night.
Antenucci opened the scoring at the New York Stadium with a 30th-minute strike, his third goal of the Championship season, and Leeds led at the interval after a slick performance in the first half.
But Rotherham dominated the early part of the second half and replied with strikes from Alex Revell and substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris, leaving Milanic to look to Tuesday’s game at Championship leaders Norwich City for his first win as boss.
The 46-year-old has been in charge of Leeds for a month – appointed on a two-year contract last month after quitting his job at Sturm Graz – but his first four fixtures have earned him only two points.
“It’s difficult,” he said. “I’m not happy with a situation where I haven’t won until now with Leeds United.
“But I think the players were 100 per cent in the game, we tried to play and we tried to play with good possession. In the second half it was difficult against a hard and aggressive home team.
“We played well to begin with. It was a good game. We controlled the match, we scored the goal, we had some good counter-attacks.
“But in the last few minutes of the first half they began with long balls from all areas and made a lot of pressure. We were prepared to play against that pressure but we made two mistakes and they scored the goals.
“We had some problems in midfield with pressure from them. But after they scored we had some good movement, we were dangerous.”
Brazilian midfielder Adryan initially appeared in the line-up announced by Leeds but was replaced at short notice by Lewis Cook, taking a seat on the bench.
Adryan appeared for his debut during a lively cameo in the final 27 minutes but failed to force an equaliser. Antenucci was denied by a post in the dying moments.
Asked why Adryan had not started, Milanic said; “You ask me a lot about Adryan.
“He’s part of the team, he has talent and great potential. It was my plan that I bring him on in the second half.”

Phil Hay: Leeds United will gain more if Redfearn can focus solely on Academy

Yorkshire Evening Post 18/10/14
Neil Redfearn to York City was finished before it began.
York thought about him but never interviewed him and Redfearn didn’t want the job. At no stage was Massimo Cellino in his ear, reminding Redfearn that the proverbial grass is greener and plusher round here, my friend.
It may come to that in due course and if Leeds United’s academy boss ever decides that the world is bigger than Thorp Arch, the club cannot say they were caught on the hop. He likes his job – adores it, really – but Redfearn wants to manage. In the end most coaches catch that bug.
His next move depends on time, place and luck. Well-regarded or not, Redfearn is in a busy, changeable market. York weren’t his bag and he, seemingly, wasn’t theirs. He was touted as Barnsley’s next manager last month with his stock rising and Danny Wilson trudging through mud but Wilson has taken Barnsley in hand again. Prospects are not the same as promises.
Jobs on offer one day vanish the next and no-one can say where Redfearn will be this time next year, least of all him. In terms of kudos, his chance of a managerial post elsewhere is at its peak while thoughts of his four games as caretaker of Leeds are fresh. It is also the period when Leeds are most at risk of losing him.
Cellino is resistant to the idea of Redfearn moving on but it would be prudent on his part to prepare for that end-game. The only upside of speculation about United’s academy manager is that the club won’t be ambushed by approaches for him. York have seen to that and so to a lesser degree have Barnsley. The interest is there, plain and unambiguous.
Reading fought their corner and fought it successfully when Cellino had a nibble Eamonn Dolan, their own head of youth development, in June but they were not anticipating a phone call from Leeds. They dealt with it by setting a high price for Dolan, warding Cellino off and keeping their coaching structure intact but only Reading and the board there know what contingency plan was in place, if any.
On Dolan’s watch, Reading’s academy has become a genuine centre of excellence and an example to many. In the lower leagues the same can be said of the output at Thorp Arch. Academy work is skilled and complex – more complex now that the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) sets specific targets for grading and funding – and handling the flow between multiple age groups is specialist’s job. Redfearn is one and Dolan is another. Reading were so set on keeping Dolan that they told Cellino to either pay more than £500,000 or leave them in peace. Skilled youth-team coaches are worth that much.
Cellino has seen the supply from United’s academy and he will realise that it is too good and too consistent for the club to neglect it. Redfearn thinks the age categories below the development squad and the Under-18s are more intriguing and promising than even those two groups, and on the basis of players pushed into the senior squad by him, you can take him at his word. So if Redfearn goes – and people do – then Leeds need another version of him. In the circumstances it would do no harm to have a shortlist in place already.
In the meantime he has a job to do and a job that ought not to be complicated by vague or token involvement with the first team. Darko Milanic’s request to Redfearn to join him in the dug-out at Rotherham last night – made on Tuesday, a day after York’s interest in Redfearn became public – could be seen as a concession to a man who United are worried about losing or undervaluing but Cellino asked the two men to work closely from the start. It wasn’t his intention to isolate Redfearn; merely to appoint someone else as head coach.
Redfearn wanted that post last month and Milanic got it. He might regret or resent Cellino’s decision but he has to accept it. Milanic is a qualified coach with enough weight behind him to merit his appointment. What Redfearn had over him was results on the job at Elland Road but that was true of almost everyone, with the exception of Simon Grayson. The club is Cellino’s and Cellino pays for the right to have his way.
Redfearn declined to attend United’s game at Rotherham last night, just as he distanced himself from the touchline for Milanic’s first three fixtures in charge. He was wary of being a hinderance to Milanic; of creating a presence which bothered the Slovenian and denied him the space to do as he pleased.
Milanic has an assistant, Novica Nikcevic, and three in the technical area can be a crowd. It comes down to the attitude of the man in charge. At Leeds, Neil Warnock was a manager who left much of the coaching to Mick Jones and Ronnie Jepson. Redfearn, like Jepson, worked as first-team coach under Brian McDermott but McDermott was a coach at heart and liked to live on the training field. Between him and his assistant, Nigel Gibbs, the sessions and the drills were covered. Redfearn contributed without exerting real influence game-to-game. Milanic and Nikcevic are similarly hands-on.
What Leeds want between Milanic and Redfearn is dialogue, trust, co-operation and support. They rub along well but Redfearn has no input in first-team training during the week so his presence on matchdays is moot. Milanic doesn’t need him in the dug-out. He knows it and Redfearn knows it. Agreeing on that should help them both. Academy manager, Redfearn’s job title says, and Leeds will gain more from leaving him to it than flattering him with contrived offers of promotion.

Leeds United: Shoddy second half costs Whites dear

Yorkshire Evening Post 17/10/14
The noise all week emanated from Rotherham and when the night came it belonged to them.
This was Rotherham’s occasion, the fixture Steve Evans craved, and two goals in the second half left him grinning at the end of a match which slipped through the hands of Darko Milanic.
They cast Leeds United as noisy neighbours in parts of Yorkshire but the club did not live up to that reputation before last night’s derby. It was Evans who dominated the agenda, talking endlessly of stature, history, his respect for Leeds. For the best part of an hour, the enormity of it all seemed too much for his players.
Leeds and Milanic kept their counsel, as Milanic likes to do, and a Mirco Antenucci goal on 30 minutes proved that silence has its virtues. A sharp goal in the midst of a sharp performance drew the steam from Evans temporarily, giving Milanic the scent of a precious first win.
The Slovenian barely flinched as Antenucci’s shot flew in but he was pacing anxiously by the end, praying for a point.
Victory when it materialises will feel a long time coming for United’s coach but as others said before last night’s match, Rotherham was the first of his four fixtures in charge which offered him a fair test.
Swamped by three games in eight days before the international break, the chance came to think and take a breath to help smooth out some flaws.
Away from home and in Evans’ back yard, Leeds handled the first half perfectly. To Milanic’s dismay, they disintegrated badly in the second.
Antenucci opened the scoring on the half-hour, holding his nerve to bury a good chance, and the game was dictated until the interval by Milanic’s midfield and his choice of team. The diamond remained but the personnel changed, and the use of Lewis Cook at number 10 was Rotherham’s undoing until Evans’ side changed gear at half-time and replied with goals from Alex Revell and substitute Jonson Clarke-Harris.
The second, scored on 65 minutes, was buried with virtually the forward’s first touch and was all the advantage Rotherham needed. A late appearance by Adryan, lively though it was, did not alter United’s evening.
Evans had questioned beforehand whether Milanic might deal an unexpected hand by starting Adryan, the Brazilian midfielder whose debut has eluded him for a month-and-a-half.
Milanic almost used his wildcard but having named Adryan in United’s original line-up, the 20-year-old was omitted without explanation from the official teamsheet.
Adryan had a spring in his step when he arrived at the ground, unmissable with fluorescent green headphones around his neck. Photos showed his shirt hanging with the rest of the starting team in the dressing room, and precisely when he learned of his demotion to the bench was difficult to know. Milanic might conceivably have played a canny game with Evans.
His place went to Cook, a teenager who was worth a start regardless of form or reputations around him, and for all the clamour about Adryan, the midfield which Milanic eventually settled on looked more schooled for an outbreak of blood and thunder.
Cook took up the baton behind United’s striker, the position Adryan is waiting to fill.
There were other tweaks too: Stephen Warnock in at left-back – proof that Massimo Cellino has not black-balled the 32-year-old – and Gaetano Berardi preferred to Sam Byram on the other side of United’s defence.
In spite of that, the spine of the team remained intact as one Yorkshire derby at home toSheffield Wednesday led into another at Rotherham.
Last night’s game drew a sell-out crowd – all of those present resistant to televised coverage – and the attempts to draw blood came quickly. Rodolph Austin’s shot on six minutes struck a leg and caused Adam Collin no problem but Antenucci’s strike from the resulting corner – a low volley at the end of Alex Mowatt’s pass – was close enough for the Italian to think he should have scored. Collin would not have reached a neater finish.
Rapidly, the structure of Milanic’s team fell into place nicely. Mowatt’s footwork and Austin’s drive in behind the pace and touch of Cook gave the midfield a grip of the game. Rotherham were kept at arm’s length, limited to a rising free-kick from Ryan Hall – the derided ex-Leeds player who amused the away end with a couple of mis-controls in the opening minutes – and little else until the 22nd minute.
In that moment, Leeds were distracted by a head injury to Jason Peace as Rotherham came at them, and Revell’s pass squeezed Matt Derbyshire in between Berardi and Giuseppe Bellusci. Silvestri was vulnerable but dropped down to gather a weak and wasteful finish which rolled straight at him.
Souleymane Doukara had caused similar problems at the other end seconds earlier, bullying Kari Arnason and scuffing a long ball across goal, and Revell tried and failed to stab home a Ben Pringle corner which caused bedlam in front of Silvestri.
A break in parity was always likely to come without warning and from nowhere. There are goalscoring issues in both camps, as Evans and Milanic freely admit. Rotherham tallied nine in the league before last night and Milanic’s first three games produced a modest number of chances.
But Evans’ side blinked first on the half-hour as Antenucci picked Rotherham off in a flash.
Doukara received the ball at his feet inside the home half and saw gaping space in front of him, enough to advance on Evans’ defence and feed Antenucci. The striker was alone, onside and helped by all of the time he needed to draw Collin from his line and stab the ball into the far corner of the net. His capacity to be deadly is ever more obvious.
Rotherham retaliated before half-time but Silvestri saw off the best of their chances by diving to reach out and claw Revell’s header wide, and the bite in United’s players carried the game to the interval. Hall – as feeble as he was in his bitter days at Leeds – did not make the second half.
Rotherham thrived without him and equalised in the 57th minute having pressed United without response from the previous 12 minutes.
Lee Frecklington forced his way in behind Berardi and smashed the ball at Silvestri from close range. The goalkeeper’s parry bounced down to Revell who kept his balance under pressure and hooked the rebound into an empty net.
Doukara had the ball in Rotherham’s soon after but his scrambled finish was two yards offside and the balance of the game had turned conclusively. Adryan came off the bench in the 63rd minute, taking to the field at the same time as Clarke-Harris, but while the former waited for a meaningful touch, Clarke-Harris reacted to his first on 65 minutes by charging over 30 yards and lashing a shot past a helpless Silvestri.
Tetchy and fraught with bookings in the closing stages, Adryan produced one stab at a point with a 20-yard hit which Collin scrambled behind and Antenucci conjured another when his effort from the edge of the box forced its way under Collin’s body but clipped a post and rolled behind.
It was one of those nights. Leeds know them well.