It’s been a bit of a strange week being Leeds United manager for Steve Evans, but them every week is probably strange as Leeds United manager when Massimo Cellino is your boss. Evans has every right to feel good this week; Leeds have won three games back to back and we are up to eleventh in the Championship table. We’ve even broken the midweek hoodoo winning the last two and haven’t lost one since February. He became the longest serving manager under Cellino and our most successful since Simon Grayson results wise. He’s also lost a lot of weight, he looks pretty good.
Of course he still has uncertainty around his future, he is only contracted for another three games but he must have been confident about remaining in charge for next season given the teams recent form. That was until he picked up a copy of the Telegraph on Sunday morning and read James Ducker’s interview with Massimo Cellino. Always outspoken and never one to hold back Cellino’s comments will not have filled Evans with much hope regarding his future…
I cannot work with English managers, I never want to learn. I give up. When am I going to find a manager in England who is actually a coach? They want to control everything. But it’s wrong because when they go you have to start all over again. Not everyone is Sir Alex Ferguson. All the other managers want to act like Ferguson but they don’t have the skills so they cause damage.
He even hit out at Evans directly…
He talks too much. He has to learn to shut his mouth. I’ve told him so many times to stop, you have no idea. But he doesn’t.
Evans, having been aware of Cellino’s comments had his chance to reply in the Yorkshire Post on Tuesday…
I have not seen the article or all the quotes, but if Mr Cellino decides it is time up then it is time up, history tells you that. But we are on target to have our highest-placed finish in five years, from a remit of, ‘Keep us in the division because we may get relegated’. I have always maintained that this is somewhere I want to have a future. It is a club that is now ready for a promotion campaign and I can deliver that next season.
It is a fairly measured response from Evans. On his appointment I always felt he had a track record of being a bit hot headed, outspoken, exactly the kind of manager to run Cellino up the wrong way. I didn’t think he would last long at all. But perhaps that’s the reason he has stayed so long, perhaps Cellino respects Evans directness, even if he does seem to have mellowed in the past few months.
Whatever you think about Evans, I personally think he is not up to the level required to achieve promotion but he has surely won the right to have a go at it next season? The football may not have been the greatest ever witnessed at Elland Road but the performances and results have improved. He has certainly been the best watermelon Cellino has picked, the only question now is will he let it ripen?
Evans may have brushed aside Cellinos comments, he’s Scottish after all, maybe he thinks they do not apply to him but the Telegraph article does highlight one issue for me. If Evans is not the right man for the job who would we get in? Why would anyone take a job when your president will quite happily disrespect you in the media behind your back? Cellino’s talk of conversations with Ancelotti and Mourinho belong in the world of fantasy, we are way below their level these days, maybe Evans is just about the best Cellino can expect.