New Leeds United manager Darko Milanic says that he is very much looking forward to getting his first victory at this new club. The Slovenian was recently appointed as the new manager of the club in what is already proving to be a troubled time under the new ownership. The prospect of getting promoted to the Premier League through the automatic spots may appear to have gone away even at this early stage in the season, but the prospect of finishing in the play-offs is still viable. Milanic has been in charge of Leeds United for three matches, but he has been able to get only two points so far.
They take on Rotherham, who have been struggling for results themselves, away from home this weekend. Rotherham finally managed to bring an end to a poor run of home form by beating Blackburn 2-0 just before the international break. Hence, there is a possibility that they will be feeling confident against Leeds, who have just one win in the last five away matches. This coming together of different set of forms could cause leads to suffer yet another defeat. It will be extremely disappointing for Milanic to convince that he is the right man for the job.
Leeds are 14th in the table with 15 points so far. “It’s important. The win is like the sun. Today the sun is out. I hope tomorrow also. For me it’s extremely important to train with my team and we have done a lot of things (in the break). We played very well in the last game. We did well in defensive play but also in possession. We did a lot of good things and made opportunities to score goals. We were close to the win against Sheffield Wednesday. We were close,” said the boss.
Leeds United are in the market for a new manager after parting company with Dave Hockaday after just six games in charge. Dave Hockaday had one the worst records amongst the recent crop of Leeds United managers with a win percentage of just 33. Neil Redfearn is currently in charge of the first-team matters before a permanent appointment is made. It is highly speculated that Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino, who is no stranger to sacking and hiring managers rather quickly, has made Sturm Graz boss, Darko Milanic, as his first choice to takeover at the club.
The 46-year-old does not have much introduction to English football after having largely made his name with the likes of Maribor. However, it is widely believed that Leeds United had submitted an offer to Sturm Graz to make an approach. Milanic himself has denied these rumours by saying that he has not heard anything from Leeds United, but he did admit that it is exciting to be known that a club of such history and tradition are interested in him. Leeds United are one of the recognised names in English football, but recent troubled times in the last decade have seen them slip into the lower leagues.
Promotion will be the main target for Leeds United this season but they are already looking like mid-table certainties. They are 14th in the table after seven matches. “It’s nice that you’re spoken of in connection with a club of such tradition. This is positive, pleasant stress for me. This gives me confidence. But I can say that there has never been a concrete enquiry for me,” said the 46-year-old. Leeds have been enjoying a good run of form in recent weeks under the management of Redfearn. They are undefeated in the last three matches – a run that also includes two wins.
The Liverpool boss, Brendan Rodgers, believes that Philippe Coutinho, the Brazil international, is a player with the X-factor and he can be the man for the Reds in the upcoming season.
Liverpool appears to be a slightly hampered unit after losing Luis Suarez to the Catalan club Barcelona earlier this summer, but, according to Rodgers, Coutinho can make up for Suarez’s absence.
Coutinho had played in the league regularly in the last season too for Liverpool and had made some game changing contributions, but, like many others, he was also overshadowed by Suarez who had ended up as the top scorer in the tournament.
But, with the Uruguayan not being the part of the club any more, Rodgers would be relying more on Coutinho this time around and the 22-year old playmaker has kicked off the summer promisingly enough to give confidence to his boss.
Rodgers was all praise for Coutinho after the pre season match against Borussia Dortmund the other day.
The Reds manager was quoted as saying, “Philippe is not behind may others in terms of skills, that’s for sure. What a player he is. Today, with the opposing team as good as that, the attitude that he showed was incredible. He is innovative on the pitch and he rarely gets panicky even if he’s in a difficult situation.”
“If you have a look at his first strike today, you would know what this guy can do. There is a big platform waiting for him. He will like to make a mark in the European Cup with everyone watching.”
Coutinho was an extremely surprising exclusion from the Brazilian World Cup squad. People close to him say that after being overlooked, he is fired up from inside and is keen to prove himself to the whole world.
Coutinho has so far made only one appearance for the Brazilian national side i.e. in 2010.
Leeds United recently lost the services of striker Ross McCormack, who joined Fulham in a £ 11 million deal a few weeks ago. As a result, the attack of the club is not as strong as it once was towards the end of last season. So far, the club has made four signings. Head coach David Hockaday has revealed that he will not be stressed into making panic buys since there is still a lot of time left in the transfer window. Leads are reportedly negotiating deals with a couple of players, as they target a return to the Premier League after a long time.
Leeds were expected to be one of the promotion contenders last season, but Brian McDermott failure to get the team anywhere close to the play-offs led to him losing his job. Hockaday will be in charge of the team during pre-season. The club recently returned to action with the pre-season camp that began in Italy. Hockaday has revealed that United have always had great players over the years and the loss of McCormack will not be enough to dampen the spirits of the club ahead of the new campaign. The huge transfer fee received from the sale of the striker will be invested back into the team.
“From my point of view, if we need to replace them we will replace them and we’ll do that as quickly as we can, but we won’t panic and we won’t do anything silly. We might have to show patience in some positions and some things might move quicker than others but it’s one of those things where if there’s a gap to fill we’ll fill it properly and professionally, but if needs patience we’ll show patience,” said the Leeds United coach after returning back from the pre-season camp.