Leeds United boss prepares players for demanding Championship season

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott

With the big kick-off just a day away Leeds United manager Brian McDermott is sounding quietly confident about prospects for the new season.

While not shouting from the rooftops about promotion prospects the Whites boss believes there have been encouraging signs in pre-season and is looking forward to the challenge of building the club again.

Financial restraints have meant that he has not been able to bring in the number of players he had wished for with only midfielder Luke Murphy as anything like a marquee signing. The squad looks short of a winger and a centre-half at least unless any surprise late deals can be made before tomorrow’s Championship opener at home to Brighton.

But the lack of changes can be a benefit for United after a major upheaval last term and whatever fans think of the Neil Warnock era he has left Leeds with a more solid base than they had a year ago.

McDermott is now trying to add some gloss by getting the side to play more passing football and it will be interesting to see if his “mini revolution” succeeds.

Fans are buying into it with big turn-outs at the pre-season games and more than 25,000 tickets sold already by last weekend for the opener.

Pre-season results have not been great with four defeats, the last 2-0 at home to German side FC Nurnberg last Saturday. But the manager is more concerned about what happens from now on.

“We’ve got work to do, but we know that and our season starts now,” said McDermott.

“What has pleased me over the last six weeks is the way the boys have trained. They have given us absolutely everything.

“Now we need to work up towards the game against Brighton. What the game did on Saturday was cement in my mind what I will be doing against Brighton.

“The only thing that matters now is the start of the season. We’ve got a 46 game campaign and we need all the fans behind us, in the right kind of way.

“We have had ten managers in ten years. We need to build this football club again in the right way and that is what we are doing.

“It is a great traditional club but in the past ten years we have had expectation, hope and then disappointment and we have to change it. We need to build something, something special and it is possible with the fans we have.

“I need the staff, players and the fans. We must all go in the same direction. The anthem at Leeds is ‘Marching On Together’, the best anthem I have ever heard, and that is what we need to do.”

McDermott will not be drawn on where he expects the team to finish this season, but he is determined to move the club on after the disappointments of last year.

He added: “I’m trying to get things right in a lot of areas. It’s not easy but I know what I’m like – everything has to be spot on. If one thing’s out of place it annoys me. That’s the way I’ve always been. I need everything to be just-so.

“The Championship will be the same this season as it was last season – three games a week, really demanding, wide open. You need to be ready for that and I’ve tried to make sure that we are.

“I know people round here expect and I’m not in the job to disappoint. I know I’m carrying the dreams of lots of supporters. But that’s why this job is a privilege.”