Leeds United head coach Steve Evans has claimed he would be “short-changing people” by giving up his pursuit of the play-offs.
Evans is clinging to the hope that Saturday’s Yorkshire derby at Sheffield Wednesday can give Leeds a shot in the arm after a costly defeat to Ipswich Town on Tuesday left the club facing up to the prospect of a mid-table finish.
United’s boss has spoken about a play-off bid throughout his three-month reign but a 2-1 loss to Ipswich - sixth in the Championship before kick-off - created a 12-point gap to the division’s top six.
Evans said the season was a “long way away from being over” and admitted he was putting himself under pressure to finish the term strongly with a view to strengthening his position as head coach at Elland Road ahead of next season.
The former Rotherham United boss, who replaced Uwe Rosler at Leeds in October, is on a deal to the end of the season with the option of a second year.
Evans said: “The season’s a long way away from being over. I don’t have to tell the players that. I still maintain that if we win at Sheffield Wednesday and clubs above us drop points, we’re back in a much better position. I know the type of fixtures that a team like Ipswich have still got to face.
“We’ve come off an eight-match unbeaten run and we’ll look to go on another one. At the very least, that will make sure that club’s above us have to take care of themselves. I’m not going to aim low. It’s like the FA Cup - if you say to me ‘how far do you want to go in the FA Cup?’ the answer is that I want to win it.
“People will hear that and say ‘oh, here we go’ but it’s not my job to give up or to start short-changing people. Our supporters expect us to win games and I expect us to win games. Whereever we finish, I have to look at it and think that I’m building something.
“If it’s not this season then I’m building for next season and making sure that I’ve created a situation where I can do what I want to do in the summer.”