Break has come at a good time for Leeds United
Head coach Steve Evans has plenty to ponder again after his Leeds United side came up with another of their defensive collapses to go into the international break on a real downer.
It had seemed a clear the air meeting had done the trick following United’s 4-0 surrender at Brighton with three straight wins going into last Saturday’s West Yorkshire derby with Huddersfield Town.
The feelgood factor initially continued into the game with Marco Silvestri superbly saving an early Nahki Wells penalty and Stuart Dallas heading in his first goal for the Whites at Elland Road to give Leeds the lead.
But a soft goal from a corner just before half-time put Town level and three in eight minutes midway through the second half saw them able to celebrate a 4-1 success that no-one really saw coming.
Now Leeds have to bounce back again as they did after the Brighton debacle and face another testing Yorkshire derby when they go to play Neil Warnock’s resurgent Rotherham United side at their New York Stadium.
The Millers will no doubt be licking their lips at the prospect of completing a league double over the Whites, but have to wait a week as there are surprisingly no games over Easter for sides in the Sky Bet Championship due to the international matches.
The week off could be to Leeds’ advantage as their next opponents are flying with four wins and an amazing comeback draw in their last five games while the rest and a chance to take stock is just what the doctor ordered for Evans’ men after a mad, topsy-turvy month.
Evans is looking forward to being able to work with his players on the training ground and will be instilling the need to defend better than they did against Huddersfield if they are to achieve their aim of a top half finish.
More doubts about whether Evans would be the man entrusted to guide United towards the end of the season or beyond it were raised after the latest bad defeat, but he insisted he had not pressed owner Massimo Cellino on a decision on his future.
He said: “I’ve got no reason to ask for guidance. When you win games, if you ask a question then people would always speak positively. If you lose a game, people would always be negative.
“You have to take it from the remit when you came in as head coach and that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to make sure this club is a Championship club going forward and then I’ll try to build something, to put a side in place which challenges.
“It’s easy to talk, it’s harder to deliver, but as I’ve said many times I’ve got a track record which says I deliver.”
Leeds remain in 13th place, 10 points above the relegation zone with a game in hand and only nine to play, but Evans does not believe they are safe just yet.
He added: “Unless you tell me differently or the league table is different, I don’t think we’re mathematically safe in the Championship.
“I need to deliver the remit the president gave me and I’ve not done that yet. We need to get points on the board and make sure we’re safe.
“Our three wins in a row have probably taken us four or five points away from being able to say right, now we can talk about next year.”
Evans, meanwhile, says he is treating claims made in a national newspaper that he is going to be sacked in the summer with “contempt”.
It has been claimed that the owner had indicated he had lost faith in Evans’ ability to take the club forward and was preparing to part ways with the head coach, either before the end of the season or at the end of it.
But Evans said: “I treat stories like that with the contempt they deserve.
“My only focus is preparing the team for Rotherham.”