Warnock in interviewNeil Warnock spoke ahead of our final game against Leicester. He told journalists he would announce his retained-list on Wednesday and hold a press conference on Thursday. On the anniversary of Leeds’ last league title, he wants to begin building a team that the younger generation can be proud of, and he won’t be discussing transfer rumours due to sensationalist media. Oh, and did he ever mention he likes the fans?

Q: You’re almost there, one game to go.

I’m relieved if I’m honest. I don’t think it could have been much better so it’s time to move on. We’ve been planning now for a number of weeks. Although I’ve had a few letters I must admit, about my comments about ‘the end of the season can’t come quick enough’ and ‘roll on next season’, asking for their money back for this year. One guy wanting £50 back because he lost his bet with a mate at Burnley and it’s my fault we didn’t finish above them!

But I’m afraid I’ve got to stand for that. Long term we’ve got to plan for next season. It’s my one opportunity and I want to put a team out that the new generation of Leeds United fans can enjoy watching. We’re on the anniversery of them winning the old First Division and quite honestly the youngsters of today haven’t seen a lot of that so that’s my intention to try to build a side that the young generation can be proud of. Because we all know the history of the club and the ex players around the club are there all the time to remind you of that tradition.

So that’s the challenge in the summer: to build a club with the right kind of signing that kids can come to the ground excited to see next year, and we can give them a good run for their money.

Q: Do you think in a way this was an opportunity missed?

I think it shows you the level of the Championship this year really. I think if we had anything about ourselves we could’ve got in the playoffs but I think we would’ve been smudging the picture and I don’t think we were anywhere near good enough to be in the playoffs, and I suppose I’ll get caned for saying that as well.

Q: But it’s the reality isn’t it?

Yeah, I wouldn’t be here really if there wasn’t something that needed doing and I think it’ll be as tough as I’ve ever had because I feel we need an influx of players to give us the base for success. We’re playing Leicester tomorrow and they’ve thrown £17m at it I think and they’re not even in the playoffs. So the expectations of both clubs are big. It’s slight different because we have such a big fanbase we expect more, but when you spend that sort of money I think the expectation is far greater because you’ve got to come up with the answers when you’ve spent so much. I think it shows with Sven. As much as he’s tried, I think the Championship’s a unique league and I’m sure Nigel next year will have his own squad and will be a lot more prudent than Sven and I think they’ll be a more difficult side to play against next season.

Q: There’s a record to avoid for Saturday which is home defeats for the season. Is that something you’re aware of?

Yeah I’ve been told that. Quite honestly there’s nothing I can do about it. If I get beaten and have got that record I’ll have to start fishing in Cornwall and remember all these periods won’t I! But I don’t think about that – I’m only thinking about building a team. Yes, you don’t want records but at the end of the season you finish where you deserve to be and that’s how I see football. You can have bad luck here or there, but usually you finish where you should be and we haven’t been good enough in that respect. You don’t want negative records, but it’s the manner of some of the defeats that have upset me. But also some of them have been very good like the Southampton match.

It’s onwards now. We’ve got to look forward. We are working behind the scenes and I would like to bring players in sooner rather than later, rather than leave everything until the summer, because of the changes I want. We’ll probably make the retain list next week, Wednesday, and then the fans will have more of an idea what my thoughts are. And then recruitment will be important – with the Bosmans we might not be able to announce them until July, but we might be able to.

I’d like to keep the fans informed as much as I can about the summer activities but we’re going to get speculation throughout the summer and probably the best thing to do for me is to keep my own counsel on speculation. It’s difficult for journalists with the summer because some mornings you wake up with nothing to write and you have to make something up and your sources always come up with the trumps!

Q: I’ll put one to you. In talks with El Hadji Diouf can you confirm or deny?

No I can’t do either, no. And I won’t be doing either. I’ve read I’ve already signed 3 players from QPR, and El Hadji Diouf, and two others yesterday as well. So I think what I’m going to do is just bite my tongue and at the appropriate time when we do sign somebody the fans and yourselves will be the first to know. I think I’ve got to do that because I am going to be linked and while there are good journalists there are some journalists who don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Q: You said you’ve got one lined up for after the season have you other targets lined up?

Yes, I’ve made quite a lot of enquiries this week. It’s been a busy week, talking to agents unfortunately – not my happiest time of the season! But you’ve got to do that.

I know the type of player I’m looking for, I know the opportunities I’m going to get and I know other clubs who are chasing similar types of players so I’m hoping we can get as many of our targets as we can really and get a certain type of player into the club. I think with Leeds and it’s supporters you have to have that type of player. It’s alright trying to bring the odd one in, that’s quite straight forward, but I do think we need quite an influx of new players so as I said when I came I think it’s as difficult as I envisaged, in fact probably more difficult than I envisaged when I actually agreed to come.

But the shining light has been the fans. We get beat and they chant my name, now there can’t be better support than that and that goes a long way with me with the way that I want to tackle the job and the enthusiasm that you’ve got to have to change things. I think the average supporter knows we do need change and I think that’s why they’ve given me their support.

Q: Contracts, Aidy White and Robert Snodgrass in particular…

Yeah there’s three or four lads… I’ll be doing the retain list Wednesday. It’ll probably be the following week when I get back to contracts – I’ve really had too much on with recruitment this week. I’ve put my priorities forward there. The lads know the offers that they’ve got. I’ve got to speak to Ross’ people – I’ve not been able to formalise an offer to Ross but that will be coming this week, and the other lads have had theirs, so I’ll be talking to them. Realistically we want to offer the players decent contracts and if I believe they are and they turn them down then we’ll have to look at it a different way. But at the moment I’m optimistic. But you know… football never fails to surprise me!

Q: Have you decided what to do about Paul Robinson?

I’ll talk to Paul at the end of the season. I’ll probably have a Thursday press conference and you’ll know more about everything then.

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