McDermott reveals team change

Andover Advertiser: Brian McDermott arrives at Leeds United's training ground on Monday morning Brian McDermott arrives at Leeds United's training ground on Monday morning

Brian McDermott revealed the Leeds team he had prepared on Friday for the match with Huddersfield was changed overnight following his apparent dismissal.

McDermott, who returned to training on Monday and now appears to have been reinstated as manager, tried to shed some light on a bizarre few days at the club at a lunchtime press conference.

McDermott ran through the timeline of events, which started with him receiving a phone call from a lawyer acting for prospective new owner Massimo Cellino on Friday night saying he was being sacked.

He then followed Saturday's 5-1 win over Huddersfield on television before reading about his reinstatement on his iPad.

He said: "The only thing I was thinking on Friday night was to get a result. I set the team up on Friday, it was changed overnight, (assistant) Nigel Gibbs changed the team back."

It was not immediately clear who made the changes to McDermott's team on Friday night. Even more mysterious was the new player at training on Monday morning, whom McDermott said arrived on transfer deadline day without his knowledge.

"We have an Italian player," McDermott added.

"I'm not sure the deal has been ratified (by the Football League). I don't know the player, he came on transfer deadline day. If the player has been ratified he will get the utmost respect and opportunity if we feel he can help us."

McDermott admitted he had found the whole situation "very odd".

"You have to be the owner of the football club to bring players to that football club and sack the manager," he said. "I did think it was strange, to say the least."

He added: "This situation should never happen to a football manager."

And McDermott revealed he had gone against plenty of advice from people in the game by returning, saying he could not walk away from the club.

He said: "This is Leeds United, I am Leeds United manager and I want to be Leeds United manager.

"I have spoken to a lot of really important people in the game who said you shouldn't go back.

"It would have been very, very easy for me to walk away and that was the advice of a lot of people, but I was never going to walk away from this job. Why would you walk away as Leeds United manager?

"There's no way I would leave the staff I've got here, the players and the supporters. It doesn't bear thinking about."

McDermott said he had received assurances from current owners Gulf Finance House (GFH) Capital that he would be responsible for all football matters.

"Nobody will be invited to the dugout or dressing room to speak with the players unless the manager okays it," he said. "I answer to GFH only."

Cellino, who owns Serie A club Cagliari, wanted to install friend Gianluca Festa, the former Middlesbrough and Watford defender, as the club's new head coach.

McDermott revealed Festa was at the club's Thorp Arch training ground on Monday morning.

And the boss admitted he had no idea if his position was now any more secure than it had been on Friday, nor if Cellino would sack him if he did complete a takeover.

Asked if he would still be in a job for the next match against Yeovil, McDermott said: "I can't answer that question."

He added: "The bigger picture is the stability of this club. That is all I'm concerned about."

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