Change in fortunes has Evans and Leeds United looking upwards
What a difference a week has made for Leeds United and Steve Evans.
Seemingly on the brink of losing his job as head coach and the team hurtling towards a relegation battle last week following the 4-0 defeat at Brighton, it is all change again following back to back victories.
Evans reiterated his belief that the Whites could finish as high as tenth in the Sky Bet Championship following Leeds’ 2-1 vital home victory over Bolton Wanderers and, remarkably, following the 2-0 success at Cardiff they could actually be in the top half if they can win again at Blackburn on Saturday lunchtime.
In order to achieve this they will have to make it three successive wins for the first time under Evans, but then again they had not won away to Cardiff City for 32 years before goals by Souleymane Doukara and Mirco Antenucci – plus a string of saves by Marco Silvestri – gave them their stunning success in the Welsh capital.
Evans heaped praise on his players for the way they have turned the club’s fortunes round.
He said: “We learned some harsh lessons in the defeat to Brighton, but I feel we’ve been in a good place since then.
“Cardiff’s goalkeeper could have been named man of the match in the first half with some fine saves before half-time and had we got that second goal then we would have won comfortably.
“But people will forget those saves because Silvestri pulled so many out of the bag in the second half.
“It helps when you have two centre-backs playing so well and the defence working together like that, while you have two strikers who just ran all night. That’s the sort of attitude we need to show when you play for such a famous club.”
After the game against Bolton, Evans spoke about a clear the air meeting last week giving everyone at the club the belief and incentive to push for a top half finish.
He said: “I’m at a wonderful football club, I work with wonderful people and we have wonderful supporters. If I’m going to promise that I’m going to deliver I need to show it before the end of the season and demonstrate to the dressing room and certain individuals that they will be part of something special next season.
“I said we could reach tenth position, that’s our aim and the players are certainly capable.
“What sometimes gets forgotten in the run of games we’ve just had is how talented some of the boys are. We’ve got some real talent in the dressing room.
“After Brighton we said they’ve got a clean slate to go and demonstrate that they should be at Leeds United next season.”
United and Evans are now looking for revenge after Blackburn ruined his big night in the first home game he was in charge for back in October.
A horror start when they were two goals down inside six minutes and a tame surrender was a rude awakening for the head coach and he will want to ensure a much better effort in the return game at Ewood Park.