Darko Milanic has hit back at Massimo Cellino’s decision to sack him after just 32 days, insisting Leeds United were making progress under his guidance.
The Slovenian was appointed as Dave Hockaday’s successor on 23 September, but failed to win a single one of his six games in charge. Even so, it was still something of a surprise when Cellino, who had sacked Brian McDermott at the end of last season, dismissed the former Sturm Graz coach, although the Whites are now 18th in the Championship standings and just three points clear of the drop zone.
Milanic claims he has been placed on paid leave by the Elland Road club and, as such, he is on call to return to first-team duties should he be requested. Whilst this is unlikely, perhaps it has now gotten to the stage when nothing, where Cellino is concerned, would shock. In the meantime, the former head coach has told Radio Slovenia that he felt progress was being made despite their poor results.
“In six games with the team I made a big step forward,” said Milanic, who won nine honours whilst in charge of Maribor. “It is true that we had bad results but the day before the game we had praise from all sides on how the situation was improving. I do not believe I made a mistake in joining Leeds. I just wish that someone would believe in me. Cellino said I’m a loser. He should look at my CV.”
Meanwhile, Neil Redfearn looks certain to be installed as the new head coach of Leeds. The 49-year-old had a caretaker spell in charge of the first-team in between the brief Hockaday and Milanic eras, and actually returned 10 points from a possible 12 before being overlooked for the permanent post. And the academy coach has revealed that should he be appointed, he wants to be given assurances from the controversial club owner that he will be given a reasonable amount of time to succeed.
“I had a meeting with Massimo today (Monday). Nothing has been put down in concrete but I wanted to see how he saw it going forward,” Redfearn told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I don’t want this to be a short-term thing, that is no good for anybody. He told me that he sees me here for the long haul and that he wanted me here with him and that he does not see this as a short-term thing.”
Is Milanic right, were there signs of improvement despite the poor results? Let us know what your take is by joining in with the discussion below.