Watford v Leeds United: Cellino throws down gauntlet to McDermott

BRIAN McDERMOTT has been challenged to prove himself as the man to steer Leeds United into the future.

Leeds United manager Brian McDermott.

The Elland Road chief has been under mounting pressure amid both a terrible run of results and Massimo Cellino’s attempts to take charge of the club.

Cellino’s successful appeal against the Football League’s decision to veto his £25m takeover was expected to pave the way for the Italian to dump McDermott.

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However, the Leeds manager has instead been told to prove himself – starting with tonight’s game at Watford, where Cellino will be in the directors’ box.

Asked about his manager, Cellino, whose Serie A club Cagliari sacked coach Diego Lopez on Sunday, said: “(Why) waste money? Leeds needs money and he is a good manager.

“I think he has to show that he is a good manager. He has had a lot of problems with the team. But we now solve the problem and paying the wages is no problem.

“He has got a president. He knows Massimo Cellino represents Italian companies, not a ghost bank or ghost company in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else.”

Seven defeats in eight games mean Leeds head to Vicarage Road badly in need of an on-field lift.

McDermott said: “I know I can achieve promotion from this league because it has happened.

“I have done it and I have got to a play-off final. Whatever happens, I know it is do-able. With the support of the owner, I know it is do-able.

“I know it might sound like hollow words at this moment in time because of the recent record, but without a doubt I know it is do-able because I have done it.

“I think the proof of the pudding will be in the time and seeing what happens.

“The most important thing is that it is an exciting time now. We have an owner where the club is going to be solvent and the players will be paid.

“We can move forward knowing we have a clear situation.

“I haven’t had any conversations with Massimo (since the weekend), but I am sure I will do.”

Last six games: Watford LWLDWD Leeds United LWLLLL.

Last time: Watford 1 Leeds United 2; May 4, 2013; Championship.

Referee: G Ward (Surrey).