Motivated Milanic confirmed as Leeds United’s first foreign boss


Leeds United have finally confirmed the appointment of Darko Milanic as the club’s first foreign boss.

Milanic, 46, arrived in England yesterday and took charge of a training session at the Thorp Arch training ground this morning before agreeing a two-year deal to take over as the new head coach.

Having vacated his role as manager at Austrian side Sturm Graz last weekend it was widely expected that the Slovenian would be unveiled as David Hockaday’s successor and his first game in charge of the Whites will be at Brentford on Saturday.

During his time in control of the Austrian Bundesliga side Milanic led them to a fifth place finish and also competed in the Europa League.

He previously enjoyed success with Slovenian side Maribor where he won nine trophies in five seasons and took them to European competition.

Milanic also enjoyed success as a player at club level with Partizan Belgrade and Sturm Graz and at international level with Yugoslavia and Slovenia.

He will be joined at Leeds y Novica Nikčević, who was his assistant at Sturm Graz, while Neil Redfearn, who had been in caretaker charge of United’s first team since Hockaday was dismissed in August, returns to his role of academy manager and head of coaching.

Owner Massimo Cellino believes he has got the right man for the job after taking his time to make the appointment.

He said: “Darko is a humble guy. He talks little but he works a lot and he’s a coach who knows about international players.

“He’s hard-working, he’s positive, and his assistant coach is a very positive person too.

“He speaks a lot of languages, he can work with foreign players - English, Italian, any nationality - and he can relate to foreign players. When I spoke to him I knew that he was right for us. His style and his philosophy is right for us.”

Milanic told the United website: “I’m very motivated and excited about my new job.

“This is a very special thing for me to be the head coach of such a big club with great tradition and great fans.

“For me this is a great opportunity to improve myself and also the team.

“Leeds is one of the most traditional clubs in England and they have had great players in their history. Leeds have won titles and enjoyed good times in the Champions League.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with the players in training. I know that the team is now in a good shape and this is a very good moment for the team. After my first training session and first game I will know everyone better.

“My first job is to get to know each player individually. I will talk with my team about Saturday’s opponents.

“I know that it will be very tough but the team has to move forward. The team needs to continue the form like the last few games.”