Steve Evans side-stepped questions about his long-term future as Leeds United head coach after the club’s recent revival came to a shuddering halt at Elland Road on Saturday.
Evans said discussions about his job would be inappropriate after a 4-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town denied Leeds a fourth successive Championship win and forced Evans to maintain his concentration on ensuring the club’s survival.
United’s previous three results had ignited hopeful talk of a late play-off bid but their heaviest defeat to Huddersfield since 1960 left Evans to think again about keeping his squad clear of the division’s relegation places.
Leeds are 10 points above the bottom three and Evans predicted that “four or five” would be enough to protect their Championship status.
The 53-year-old, who survived a 4-0 defeat at Brighton last month, was given the immediate aim of avoiding relegation when he replaced Uwe Rosler as head coach in mid-October but United’s slow climb towards safety has created doubt about owner Massimo Cellino’s plans for the summer.
Evans’ contract expires in June but his short-term deal contains an option for a second season in charge and he said last month that he expected to secure an extension once Leeds were mathematically safe.
But as he assessed a sorry defeat to Huddersfield – a match settled by three goals in the space of eight second-half minutes – the former Rotherham United manager said he had not sought clarification about his future with Leeds nine games away from finishing the season.
Evans said: “I’ve got no reason to ask for guidance. When you win games, if you ask a question then people would always speak positively. If you lose a game, people would always be negative.
“You have to take it from the remit when you came in as head coach and that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to make sure this club is a Championship club going forward and then I’ll try to build something, to put a side in place which challenges.
“It’s easy to talk, it’s harder to deliver, but as I’ve said many times I’ve got a track record which says I deliver.”
Leeds, who are entering the season’s final international break and do not play again until their visit to Rotherham United on April 2, will wrap up another unsettled Championship term away at Preston North End on May 7.
Asked if talks about his position would soon become unavoidable, Evans said: “Unless you tell me differently or the league table is different, I don’t think we’re mathematically safe in the Championship.
“I need to deliver the remit the president gave me and I’ve not done that yet. When you lose 4-1, it’s not for me to be talking about that (Evans’ future). We need to get points on the board and make sure we’re safe. Our three wins in a row have probably taken us four or five points away from being able to say ‘right, now we can talk about next year.’
“When I first met (Cellino) and in all my discussions he made it absolutely clear there was one remit. That has to be achieved. If we’re talking about a different remit, about building something, then there will be positive things to talk to him about.”
Huddersfield’s win at Elland Road ended their own run of four straight defeats in West Yorkshire derbies.
Goals from Mark Hudson, Harry Bunn, Karim Matmour and Nahki Wells helped David Wagner’s side recover from an early goal from Stuart Dallas and overcome Wells’ failure to convert a 13th-minute penalty.