Let’s build in summer – McDermott

Leeds United manager Brian McDermott.
Leeds United manager Brian McDermott.
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BRIAN McDERMOTT last night insisted that he and prospective new Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino can work together despite neither seeking or receiving assurances over the future at a recent meeting between them.

The pair last week enjoyed their first face-to-face get-together since the early days of the Italian coveting the Championship club.

Cellino, believing he had a remit to run the club after reaching agreement over a £25m purchase of a majority stake, infamously sacked McDermott on January 31 only for GFH Capital, United’s owner, to reverse the decision a couple of days later.

Since then, the two men have publicly been making the right noises about each other, both speaking of their shared love of music.

The 57-year-old Italian will become McDermott’s boss providing he gets Football League approval for his 75 per cent buyout.

The matter has been in the hands of the governing body for a fortnight but, as yet, no resolution has been found.

Providing Cellino can satisfy the League’s Fit and Proper Persons Test, the United manager’s future is likely to come under the spotlight.

However, when asked if he had sought any assurances from United’s prospective new owner, McDermott said: “That is not something I would ask any owner for.

“My position will always depend on results. Obviously, whoever the owner is, that is always the case. Your job depends on getting the right results.

“For me, I am confident enough to know that long term, if I get the opportunity, we can be successful. I am absolutely sure of it, with the right help and support.

“I didn’t ask for any assurances. But I will work to the best of my ability every day, that is all I can guarantee.

“Our staff do the same and so do the players. I have never once asked for assurances and I wouldn’t from any owner.

“The most important thing for me is that when it (the takeover) is decided and we know who the owner’s going to be – and I am sure that will be pretty soon – I have no problem working with Massimo. None at all.

“We have had a couple of meetings, we talked football a lot. I have no problem with that at all.”

With Cellino, who was at Thorp Arch yesterday, having sacked 36 coaches or managers in 20 years while at the helm of Serie A side Cagliari, his transfer deadline day attempt to dismiss McDermott did not come as a surprise to seasoned watchers of Italian football.

McDermott, though, is keen to focus on the present and he seems to have taken encouragement from last week’s meeting with Cellino.

The Leeds chief said: “It was fine. We talked about football.

“He is a football man and we talked about what he has done in his career, talked about what I have done.

“We had a good conversation. It was frank and it went well. The details of the conversation? Well, that is for me and him.

“I have won the Championship, been in the Premier League, been in two (Cup) quarter-finals. Your record is what is important as a manager, and those are facts.

“I want to win more games than we are winning at Leeds United, that’s the long and short of it.

“For me, every manager is judged on results. We want better results and we want to kick on but a lot of stuff has gone on which hasn’t helped, but you don’t want to look for excuses.

“Let’s get to a good decision, get to the summer and build again.

“Nothing has changed as far as I am concerned. I work day to day to the best of my ability. We are trying to do everything that is good for Leeds United.

“Anyone who can help Leeds United and bring them forward is going to be a friend of ours.”

The dramatic events of transfer deadline day which saw McDermott apparently dismissed also involved Academy director Neil Redfearn being asked by Cellino’s representatives to take the team the following day against Huddersfield Town alongside one-time Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa.

By the following morning, however, that plan had been shelved with Redfearn instead taking his place in the dugout accompanied by Nigel Gibbs, McDermott’s long-time assistant.

Festa, an associate of Cellino and last month tipped as McDermott’s successor, was instead in the East Stand as United beat Huddersfield 5-1.

Asked about the former Boro defender, the Leeds chief said: “Gianluca, I spoke to once but there is no involvement from him, I haven’t seen him since. That hasn’t changed at all.”

Cellino has been suitably impressed in his dealings with McDermott to give the green light for the United manager to bring in England goalkeeper Jack Butland on loan.

The 20-year-old, who recently spent time on loan with Barnsley and kept a clean sheet against Leeds in his final appearance, is expected to sign today and will go straight into the squad to face Middlesbrough tomorrow.

Leeds have moved for the highly-rated Stoke City goalkeeper due to Paddy Kenny struggling with an ankle injury.

McDermott said: “We are delighted to agree a deal to secure the services of Jack until the end of the season. He has already been involved in the England squad and I know he is very much looking forward to coming in and being part of the group.”

richard.sutcliffe@ypn.co.uk