Blackburn Rovers v Leeds United: Top-10 finish can point way for Leeds to push for play-offs, says Steve Evans

WHEN Leeds United kicked off this Championship season in August, head coach Uwe Rosler's stated target was a place in the top 10.

Leeds United boss Steve Evans. Picture: Tony Johnson
Leeds United boss Steve Evans. Picture: Tony Johnson

It seemed an underwhelming target, especially as serious money had been invested in the squad with Chris Wood, Stuart Dallas and Sol Bamba all arriving to bolster a contingent brimming with youthful potential.

As it stands, however, Rosler’s target has proved largely out of reach for Leeds, who have spent just the September international break occupying a place in the top 10.

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In fact, most of the campaign has been spent in the bottom half of the table – much to the frustration of everyone.

Steve Evans, who started 2014-15 at the helm of fellow Championship side Rotherham United, is now hoping to pilot United towards that top-10 finish and lay the foundations for what he hopes can be a promotion push next time around.

“The remit I was given by the club was to make sure we were a Championship club,” said the Scot ahead of today’s lunchtime visit to Blackburn Rovers. “The players were passed that remit, too, because you have to buy into targets together.

“There is no point in a coach having a target and giving the players a different one. You have to be focused with the same plans. But, when you have got a brief to make sure we are in the Championship and are not involved in a relegation battle, if you finish 10th then that is a stunning turnaround.”

United head to Lancashire buoyed by back-to-back wins over the past week against Bolton Wanderers and Cardiff City.

The win over the Bluebirds, Leeds’ first since 1984 in the Welsh capital, was particularly heartening.

Asked if a top 10 finish would exceed his own expectations of the Elland Road squad, Evans replied: “Privately, no. But I would rather be 10th and disappointed. As we have seen, everyone beats everyone and it is a tough league to draw results from.

“But we have got some talented boys here. In the summer, when I was an opposition manager, I never saw this as a promotion squad. But I can’t say where they should have been because I wasn’t here at the start of the season.

“I think the club under the president and Uwe were trying to build something. And if they had finished top 10 and then tried to selectively add one or two this summer, they would have been saying that next season would bring a serious aim for the play-offs.”