Defeat away to newly promoted Brentford ended the four game unbeaten run Leeds had accomplished under Neil Redfearn and was followed up by a draw against Reading at Elland Road last night as new boss Darko Milanic struggles to match the performances of his predecessor.

While it’s far too early to write Milanic off, Leeds fans will be concerned by what they’ve seen so far. Milanic appears to be suffering the same problems David Hockaday experienced at the start of the season, failing to get much in the way of attacking threat from a team who’ve no shortage of options up front.

In truth, the timing of Milanic’s arrival hasn’t helped matters. In most cases, a new manager arrives following a string of bad results and generally finds it easy to make an immediate impact. However, Milanic’s appointment came at a time when Neil Redfearn was working miracles with Leeds United’s first team and the change seems to have broken our momentum.

As such, questions over Cellino’s decision – the timing mostly – are both valid and inevitable. An increasing number of fans believed Neil Redfearn was the right man for the job as his successful caretaker spell progressed. Bookmakers such as the Coral betting shop had him among the favourites before Milanic’s name had even been touted, but concerns over who’d run the academy convinced Massimo Cellino to look elsewhere.

We’ll never know if that was the right decision, but if a fear of losing a top class academy chief was all that held us back, it’s worth considering the attention Neil Redfearn’s impressive caretaker spell will have drawn from other clubs.

Barnsley are already believed to be interested and it’s an offer Redfearn would struggle to reject. For those unfamiliar with Redfearn’s playing career, Redfearn is to Barnsley fans what Lucas Radebe is to Leeds United fans. He was a key player in the Barnsley side who won promotion to the Premier League in the nineties and continued to impress for them in the top flight. Make no mistake, Redders is a legend at Oakwell.

If not Barnsley, there’ll be plenty of other clubs looking for a new manager before the season is over and Neil Redfearn is bound to feature on many of their wishlists.

But it’s perhaps unfair to consider what might have been when Darko Milanic could yet turn out to be an inspired choice. He’ll need to get to grips with this division quickly if he’s to survive under Cellino, though Cellino himself must accept he made a mistake in the timing of Milanic’s appointment.

Sandwiched between two international breaks, Cellino missed an opportunity to make life easier on his latest hire. Had Milanic been appointed at the start of the first intentional break a few weeks back, there’d be no Redfearn-shaped shadow hanging over him, no momentum to break and less pressure as a result.

Failing that, another international break follows the Sheffield Wednesday game this weekend. Leeds were playing well in the capable hands of Neil Redfearn and while an extra three games may have resulted in an even more impressive run for Milanic to follow, the international break would at least provided him with a decent amount of time to work his new squad.

Instead, Milanic arrived to three fixtures in a week and it’s doubtful he’s had chance to learn the name of Leeds’ thirty-odd first team players yet, let alone their ability and best positions. Considering the circumstances, an underwhelming start was probably to be expected.

40 Responses

  1. UnitedinArms

    Redfearn is helping Milanic on bench so bears responsibility too for last 2 results.

    • TSS

      Redders hasn’t been involved. Didn’t travel to Brentford – his choice, not Darko’s, but he’s taken a step-back to allow the new boss to take control.

      • mrbigwheels

        Oh… you seem to know that fact, (Redders choice), but I’ve not seen it mentioned before. Can see the reasoning of not traveling to Brentford but it raises the question of… ‘is Redders working closely with Darko or not?’…

      • TSS

        Think it came from Phil Hay or Popey (the Redders choice part) after Brentford game, but Darko had said in lead up to game that Redders would be on bench alongside him so it was clearly Redders’ choice.

      • henrymouni

        Massimo told Darko he had to work with Redders.
        Darko already has an assistant.
        Maybe he does not want another?

      • JDC

        Not sure that sarcasm is your finest attribute TSS. What angsta says is totally correct … we, as a group, are always quick to jump on the back of out own players far too easily. The fifteen players who were signed in the summer are 11 games into the new campaign and are still settling in and need to be given the time, and support to help them on their way.

        Adryan should, and will be given his opportunity but too many are already piling the pressure on his young shoulders … he is seen by too may on these forums as the new messiah. I only hope he lives up tp the hype, for his sake as well as ours.

      • dean rothwell

        Fully agree! Either support the team, or do one! Be a Man U fan instead

      • dean rothwell

        Oh no one on these pages, maybe Ev?
        I’m always interested to see the well structured comment’s, TSS – I’m with you 100%.
        The commotion over Adryan, the new gaffer, Warnock not playing, talk of relegation? Bla Bla Bla…….
        At Elland Road, so called fans abusing the player’s, instead of encouragement!!!
        Confidence wins games.
        Praise for Cellino, for taking on the job!
        Praise him for being ruthless!
        Praise him for having foresight!
        Praise him for throwing in the younger player’s! They deserve a go this season especially, we won’t get promoted this year so experimental tactical brain’s – Bring it on.
        “Cook” How soon before England calls?
        I’m glad Ferguson’s retired? He would have bought Silvestri by now!
        Well done the new gaffer! Sorting the defence out…….
        Anyway, here’s to our Super Leeds UNITED.

      • TSS

        I wasn’t blaming anyone, certainly not Milanic. Cellino perhaps for bad timing, which is probably what ruffled a few feathers.

        Your Adryan point is what I was getting at. I’ve never seen so much commotion over a player we’ve never seen play,

      • Graham

        I agree. It’s the hype over the effort; style over substance TSS. I’ve seen footage of him in the U21 game against Ipswich (I think) and he looked pretty tidy but when the Championship hits him full clatter…that’s when we see the true measure of the man.

  2. Chris Taylor

    I for one would of liked redders to be given the job on the basis that if it didn’t work out he could of dropped back to the acadamy, but let’s be fair out of the 4 games he was in charge we was poor against Bolton, Birmingham, and only played well for a full 90 against Huddersfield so let’s give darko a chance he’s only been with the squad a week.

    • Thommohawk

      The points are what matter and the fact is, including last season, we are unbeaten under Redfearn and have have given a hiding both in scoreline and for once looked like a dangerous team. Fear factor is a big thing in football under Redders this Leeds team was starting to start developing that.

      But Cellino decided to appoint someone else for the full time head coach role and now it’s 1 point out of 6 under the new guy who is unproven in this league. Teams just don’t fear playing Leeds United. Under Redfearn we were on a roll and unbeaten and looking good. But he knows the players and the league inside out.

      • Ev

        Disagree…….the facts are SILVESTRI is the main reason we are not in a relegation position….. Other than that we have improved from last season in certain areas and gone backwards in others. Whether we like it or not, McCormack was a big loss for us but I feel Silvestri and Bellusci are major improvements on the defence last season……..
        Cook and on a few occaisions Bianch has shown glimmers of quality but overall I would say our midfield is no more dominant than last season
        Had Redfearn stayed on I think the momentum he gained would have petered out

      • Thommohawk

        It might have, but you don’t know that, and I don’t know that it wouldn’t have either….but what I do know is under him we are unbeaten against some good sides and he was getting the most from the players here.

        What I also know is Darko came in immediately and lost and so far we haven’t won a game yet hopefully 3 times the charm and all that and a point against Reading is always good but it doesn’t seem like we’ve had the same attacking threat under Darko that we were having with Redders.

      • JDC

        “Under Redfearn we were on a roll and unbeaten and looking good”? I’m a Neil Redfearn fan and I admit that we had a fantastic points return in his tenure but to say we were looking good is stretching the truth, more than a little … Ev’s right, we owe much to Marco Silvestri and his run of outstanding form, long may it continue … however, Neil was the first one to say that we managed to ride our luck, more than a little bit, and that it would be two steps forward and one step back.

      • Thommohawk

        Diagree it being down to Sivestri, absolutely against Bournemouth if it weren’t for his heroics that night we’d have been dead n buried at half time….but by the same token he had nothing to do against Huddersfield, I didn’t see him do much against Birmingham except pick the ball from a busted net, I’m sure there’s some I’m forgetting but you can’t pin it all on the keeper good or bad. 1 game maybe but not the entire thing.

        Under Redders we looked what we were and haven’t been for a long time – competitive.

  3. NottsWhite

    Neil Redfearn, miracle worker or a lucky man ? I don’t wish to disparage what he achieved whilst he was in charge because he did some good things with the team but he also had a fair rub of the green getting results that could have easily been loses. Nothing wrong with being lucky but we need to be careful not to place him on a pedestal to judge other against. In regards to Brentford I blame both Cellino and Redfearn for the result. Cellino for putting Milanic in charge a couple of days before a tough week of games without giving him chance to fully see the squad and inpart his tactics. Redfearn I blame as he must have had significant input into the matchday squad. I also pose the question, did Redfearn do the honorable act going to either of the last two games as to not undermine Milanic or has he left his colleague in the lurch when his input was most required ? Finally against Reading we lacked that transitional player who could link up the Midfield and Attack. I do not know that Adryan or Montenegro are the answer but I find it disturbing that Redfearn is cooing over both players but then stating that they are not ready for the first team, shouldn’t Milanic be the judge of that ? I struggle to accept that either of these players are any worse than Murphy or Tonge

    • TSS

      What? Unbelievable how quickly fans of this club start to tear apart former bosses and players. Redders improved the team game-on-game, from the hopeless mess he found it in where they couldn’t manage a shot on target, we went on to secure 10 points from 12, improving every single game. That’s not lucky, it was progression and the player’s having belief in the man leading them.

      • Graham

        Try being on certain Facebook groups – it’s pretty brutal on there at times.

      • Irving08

        I think the shortcomings on view against Reading we’re no less evident in the Huddersfield game. But Reading were a better team than Huddersfield, so there was less opportunity to display strengths. I did not perceive any significant difference in our method of play as between the two matches.

  4. Ev

    To be honest I hope Adryan does prove good enough because we DESPERATELY need a gifted no 10 for the diamond formation to work.
    Sloth has been ok until last night, I lost count of the poor passes last night, especially in the 2nd half
    If Adryan doesn’t come through then I suggest going for a 5 man midfield with two of Doukara / Byram / Morrison / Montenegro as the wide players…..
    Also on Milanic…….. Redfearn got luckly I think, as others said we could easily have lost those games and Silvestri and more recently Bellusci are the reason why we are not in the relegation zone. The other signings have been inconsistent

    • Ron

      Agree. A lack of quality wide players is still the issue, so unless we can find some quickly, we need to play direct with Adryan potentially or give Montenegro his chance out wide. They looked like Under 8’s last night. Dreadful last ball/pass options.

      • Ev

        Ron, agree ……honestly I cant see how Adryan can do any worse than some of our current attacking players if im honest………I think this balloni about ” Well three coaches don’t think Adryan is ready so he isn’t” is complete overkill………. Sloth played literally a few days after arriving in the UK and I think we have been excessively careful with Adryan and Montenegro……..especially when we have to watch rubbish like last night

    • Tyler75

      Partially agree, but under Redders, particularly second half Bournemouth and Hudds game, there were signs that a very good side was starting to appear and performances were improving; particularly upfront where Doukara and Antenucci were virtually unplayable. Sloth had also been good up to last night. This is where Darko’s more conservative approach has been most noticeable. However let’s see where we are after in November after the international break and a few more games – I suspect we will see an improving side.

      • spellz

        The strange thing is when Darko arrived, he referred to the offensive approach we need to be playing but as you said it has been rather conservative and the lack of shots on target yesterday suggests we was not in the correct positions and certainly was not playing ‘attacking’ football, maybe he is still sussing out the players and their strengths only time will tell.

  5. henrymouni

    I feel Darko will be OK, given time.
    He knows what is wrong with the team.
    No Tempo, or momentum.
    Too easily knocked off the ball!!
    Too slow in possession!!

    I feel the need for speed!

    • spellz

      Precisely Henri, he will get it sooner or later and the lack of pace I feel comes from the little natural width we have at the club, I do wonder sometimes will we ever change the system and be a little more adventurous at times?

  6. spellz

    We was so flat yesterday but all this talk of under Redders this would not have happened is all speculation, in all fairness Redfearn had done very well under his short spell but also had things go his way for him in games we was not necessarily dominating, in fact quite the opposite.
    Darko has not made any drastic changes since and we still are not taking hold of games and applying the pressure needed to force the opposition in to mistakes we play like a bottle of fizzy having been open for days upon end, you guessed it…..flat.
    Some of our players that we have signed such as Adryan, motenegro need a run out soon otherwise they will become unsettled fast and never play to their full potential and the ironic thing is we seem to be lacking that type of creative player that apparently Adryan is why he has not featured yet is baffling, I wish Darko all the best and hope with the help of Redfearn and the backing of Cellino he can organize the team to play at the strength his record suggests, good luck Milanic.

    M.O.T AA.

  7. Rebel White

    “While it’s far too early to write Milanic off,” – you have to be joking putting “write off” and Milanic in the same sentence at this stage! He has been in charge for about a week. Its’ madness. The Brentford team was picked by someone else, probably NF and Cellino, and they walked into a quality football storm. Brentford were simply underestimated and in spite of Silvestri we got what we deserved. It was also a proper barometer of where we’re at.
    Then, with the three days given to Milanic for the next game, he focused on defence as he rightly should. Again, he has to have been given a hospital pass in the information he obviously got from others on who should be on the bench. He couldn’t have known anything about Murphy, Tonge and Wootton, so he believed the guy with the white stick or Mrs. Murphy or whoever.
    Finally, he seems to have been the same old story on Adryan, Montenegro and Del Fabro – “not ready”, “off the pace” yada yada yada! Still they were picked for the development squad on Monday which definitely ruled them out for Wednesday. It’s only after a couple of months that we can really judge the man. He’s in now so let’s drop the NF campaign and all its what ifs. It’s tedious already.

    • TSS

      Jesus, you’ve really managed to moan about nothing here, huh?

      “you have to be joking putting “write off” and Milanic in the same sentence at this stage!”

      No, but I specifically put IT’S FAR TOO EARLY TO WRITE HIM OFF and then merely stated questions were inevitable, as they have been, but I like how you’ve managed to twist that into something you can moan about. I made no comment as to his worthiness.

      Brentford had nothing to do with NF, he wasn’t even there, why are people suddenly trying to hang him out to dry? Because he did well and you feel the need to knock him down a few pegs because Milanic doesn’t look great by comparison (yet)? It’s madness, some of our fans turn on ex-employees, former bosses and players so quickly that it begs the question, why would anyone want to work at this club? They’ll only be belittled and slagged off for it afterwards. FYI, Redders wasn’t even there, he took a step back to allow Milanic to take control.

      • Rebel White

        Calm down, my point is about people moaning about Milanic being the head coach now and not NF. It’s a fact now and we have to move on. I have the height of respect for NF and wouldn’t dream of slagging him off. I’ve written here, or elsewhere, of my fear that Neil would walk or be enticed away if he didn’t get the head role. I really feel that NF was/is a lucky coach – and before you jump up and down, it’s not knocking him. Napoleon said he would rather a lucky general than a good general. Some people have that knack, through timing, hard work, whatever. So, like most, I actually would really like to have seen NF in the role, but it didn’t happen and we now have to give Milanic a chance. We can’t have ” well NF would have done that differently” after ever game, it’s like a form of madness.
        P.S. There is no way that Milanic came up with the team for Brentford on his own. It is reasonable to deduce that NF laid it out for him, but I wouldn’t fall down if it turned out to be Cellino.

      • Rebel White

        I like him that much I just refer to him by his pet name – Fearn in short! Brain melting, meant NR obviously, apologies!!
        I won’t mention “whose” instead of “who’s”, ooops, it’s catching.

  8. Helen LUFC

    It will be interesting to see how Milanic involves Redfearn in the first team, as I think he said he would? It must have been easy for NR to step up to working with the finished academy products he’s brought along and who are now in the first team, but it must be much more difficult leaving the limelight behind and disappearing back to working with the academy lads, however much he has done a good job. He’s made a good start to managerial life and would be interested in being taken on as a manager now, I imagine. CELLINO has made some very odd appointments for the first team coaches already, and if Milanic fails to impress then that has to be down to cellino and bad judgement. If Cellino is doing all the hiring and firing single handedly that can’t be healthy for the club, particularly now the fl may be back in for him. Redfearn was ideal to retain, and Cellino has missed a big opportunity there.

  9. Irving08

    TSS admit it, you’ve been rumbled, you always take the easy route, so as to end up in a no-lose position. Or is it just a website need for talking points ? In any event, keep up the good work. Silvestri for 12 million anyone ?

    • henrymouni

      He does like the middle ground Irv!
      Between Ying and Yang!!
      Up and Down!
      Black and White!

  10. PMH

    The fatal flaw in the analysis above is the assumption that Leeds burst of form was directly the result of Redfearn’s skilled coaching. Let’s get real here: the team had a brief run of form against mediocre opposition. Inconsistency is exactly what you expect with a brand new team, regardless of the coach. In fact, we often see a temporary burst of form after a managerial change. But that often does not last. In this case, the weaknesses visible against Huddersfield were fully exploited by Brentford. That was not a game Leeds were going to win.

    Waiting and seeing is boring obviously, but we didn’t learn much about Redfearn’s effectiveness in the few weeks he was boss, and we know even less about Darko’s qualities. Overreacting to the form of the moment is like confusing weather with climate. A cold wet day in Yorkshire doesn’t mean there is no global warming. A couple of wins or losses in September says precious little about the progress of our beloved LUFC.


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