‘Let’s talk’, says Leeds United striker Mirco Antenucci over possible new deal

Mirco Antenucci salutes the Elland Road crowd.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Mirco Antenucci salutes the Elland Road crowd. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

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TWO-GOAl Leeds United hero Mirco Antenucci says he wants to sit down and talk with the club about a possible new deal at the end of the season.

A goal either side of half-time earned Leeds a 2-1 home win against Bolton Wanderers to restore calm at Elland Road, bringing head coach Steve Evans some breathing space after the embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Brighton.

HOW'S THAT FOR STARTERS? Mirco Antenucci turns to celebrate his opening goal against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road.  Picture: Bruce Rollinson

HOW'S THAT FOR STARTERS? Mirco Antenucci turns to celebrate his opening goal against Bolton Wanderers at Elland Road. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Antenucci’s goals ensured a quick response on Saturday and kept United nine points clear of the Championship’s relegation places.

The clash with Bolton was a return to form for the Italian who scored for the first time since November with a close-range volley on 39 minutes and then doubled United’s lead with a deft effort shortly after the hour.

In January, Antenucci was understood to have asked United to allow him to move back to Italy following approaches from a number of Serie B clubs.

But Leeds declined due to a lack of strikers in their squad.

Antenucci is out of contract this summer and has yet to discuss an extension with the club, but the 31-year-old said he would look for talks about the possibility of a new deal once the season finished.

“Of course,” he said. “I wait (until) someone calls me. I have to finish the season good.

“There are a lot of rumours about me but I would like to finish the season as it’s a pleasure playing for this club. After, I think to the future. I want to finish the season well and if someone from the club calls me, we talk.”

Antenucci’s starts have been limited this season but he featured from the outset against Bolton.

“I’ve had difficult moments and sometimes I didn’t play,” said Antenucci. “In January there were a lot of rumours about me. Clubs called me but I don’t like to leave halfway through the season.”

Saturday’s match played out against the backdrop of more protests by United’s supporters against owner Massimo Cellino – including a mock funeral procession and plane flying over Elland Road with a banner reading ‘Time to go, Massimo’ – but Antenucci’s efforts sealed a first win in six league games.

His strikes put United 2-0 up before a late reply from Kaiyne Woolery forced Evans’ side to survive a tense finish. Bolton dropped to the foot of the Championship at full-time.

Antenucci said: “We needed this victory. It’s very good to put a difficult performance behind us, mentally as a team.

“It’s a big result for everyone, for our ranking and for our fans. In football the gaffer is under pressure every time. We have to keep calm and work every day.

“I wished (for a third goal) but Bolton were dangerous in the last 20 minutes. The ranking for them is not good but for me it was a difficult team to face.

“For us it is very important because for a lot of time we haven’t won.”

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