FORMER Leeds United defender Danny Mills has urged the club to hold their nerve and maintain a long-term commitment to Brian McDermott, insisting it is “too early” to judge the Elland Road manager.
Mills last night added his voice to the calls for McDermott to be shown meaningful patience, claiming quick success at Leeds was “unlikely in the circumstances” and “unrealistic to expect.”
United’s boss and his players are drawing breath this week after an exacting period in which bad defeats to Millwall, Burnley and Derby County disrupted a calm atmosphere at Elland Road.
Leeds began the season with a six-game unbeaten run, climbing towards the Championship’s play-off positions and reaching the third round of the League Cup, but McDermott spoke of his deepening frustration after Saturday’s loss at Derby sent Leeds into the international break with 14 points from 11 league games.
But Mills, an ex-England international, said: “This is the time when managers needs support and patience.
“McDermott’s still quite new to the job and I honestly think that anything more than a top-10 finish is unlikely in the circumstances.
“The play-offs would be an amazing achievement but it’s quite unrealistic to expect that when you look at the squad he’s taken on and how little it’s changed. It’s pointless judging him game to game – you need to take a view over a long period of time.
“The owners at Leeds say he’s their man, the right man for the job, and that he’s here for the long term so they need to hold their nerve and show some understanding.
“I’d be surprised and disappointed if he was under any real pressure.”
United’s chairman, Salah Nooruddin, was vocal in his support of McDermott prior to the clash with Derby, saying: “We’re going through a transitional process and that’s especially true of Brian.
“He’s settling in with his players and testing them here and there so it’s too early to judge anything. Let’s wait and see what happens.
“When we brought him in we were very happy about that and we believe he’s the right guy to take this club forward. I think it’s been proven on and off the field here.”
United’s squad have resumed training after a short break and are slowly building up their preparation for their next Championship fixture, at home to Birmingham City next Sunday.
McDermott has been given permission to look for new players in the emergency loan market but he admitted before the international break that signings were unlikely to materialise until closer to the Birmingham clash.
Mills said: “Bringing in a couple of players would definitely help.
“Leeds are short in the final third and if you don’t score goals then you don’t win matches. They’re finding that out.
“In other areas they’ve clearly had a few bad performances but McDermott can resolve that. At their best they’re a pretty organised team.
“But you’re going to have good days and bad when a club’s in transition like Leeds are. This is when you have to stick with it and back the plan.
“At a club like Chelsea, for example, you can get away with chopping and changing because they’ve got a world-class squad for any manager to work with. But 95 per cent of clubs need stability and Leeds are one of them.”