STEVE Evans hopes Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home to relegated Charlton Athletic does not prove the difference between him being shown the door at Leeds United or offered a long-term contract by chairman Massimo Cellino.
Evans has yet to be offered a deal to keep him at Leeds next season and knows that Saturday’s Championship loss could have been his penultimate game in charge of United and his final outing as Whites head coach at Elland Road.
Cellino and Evans will meet again this week to likely finalise future plans – and Evans is hoping United’s Italian owner will judge him on his overall tenure and not on Saturday’s disappointing defeat to the Addicks.
“You never hope one result is the difference between whether you are kept or not,” said Evans.
“I had a very good meeting with the president (on Friday) and it went very well. There were a lot of positive, constructive things said about myself. I gave my views on what we need to win promotion next season and he gave his.
“Time beat us yesterday but the decision on my future may come sooner than the Preston game.
“I think Mr Cellino is ready to make his decision. I believe we need between four and six quality players. If that happens I will deliver the play-offs next season, given the opportunity.”
Leeds enjoyed plenty of possession and should have taken an early lead through Luke Murphy whose low shot was saved by Charlton ‘keeper Nick Pope.
But Charlton were a constant menace on the break and after Johann Gudmundsson had fired a warning by thumping the post, the Addicks took a 39th-minute lead when the same player thumped home Morgan Fox’s left flank cross.
Things went from bad to worse for Evans and Leeds after the interval when Ademola Lookman cracked home Charlton’s second from 20 yards just four minutes after the restart.
United then bombarded the Charlton goal and after Chris Wood’s close-range header had hit the crossbar, captain Sol Bamba’s header from Charlie Taylor’s 71st-minute free-kick set up a grandstand finale.
But substitute Mirco Antenucci and Lewis Cook were both denied by smart Pope saves as an Elland Road gate of 25,458 witnessed the club’s eighth home defeat of a disappointing campaign.
Leeds sit 12th in the table but the Whites were flirting with relegation upon Evans’ arrival and the Glaswegian insists he is the man capable of inspiring a promotion drive next term.
Leeds United: Silvestri, Coyle, Bamba, Cooper, Taylor, Bridcutt (Antenucci 66), Murphy (Diagouraga 75), Botaka, Cook, Dallas (Mowatt 50), Wood. Unused substitutes: Wootton, Erwin, Phillips, Peacock-Farrell.
Charlton: Pope, Fanni, Diarra, Teixeira, Fox, Harriott, Kashi, Jackson, Lookman (Ba 89), Gudmundsson (Yun 72), Vetokele (Makienok Christoffersen 82). Unused substitutes: Sarr, Lennon, Mitov, Motta.
Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire).