Leeds manager Steve Evans has refused to condemn Massimo Cellino after the controversial Whites owner spoke out in the media to say he “cannot work with English managers”.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Cellino laid the ground for another change of first-team boss this summer, refusing to back Evans and accusing him again of “talking too much”.
Evans, who became the sixth head coach in Cellino’s two-year reign as Leeds owner in October, is four games away from the end of the Championship season and into the final throes of a contract which expires in June.
Leeds are 12th in the table after a 3-2 win over Reading on Saturday, a match which made Evans the longest-serving boss under Cellino at Elland Road.
The 53-year-old Scot has not been formally told by the club whether Cellino plans to replace him but the Italian gave clear indications that his next head coach will be foreign.
On Evans, Cellino repeated critical comments made by him after Leeds were routed 4-0 at Brighton in February.
“He talks too much,” Cellino told the Telegraph. “He has to learn to shut his mouth. I’ve told him so many times to stop, you have no idea. But he doesn’t.”
Cellino went on: “I cannot work with English (British) managers. I never want to learn. I give up. When am I going to find a manager in England who is actually a coach? They want to control everything. But it’s wrong because when they go you have to start all over again.
“Not everyone is Sir Alex Ferguson. All the other managers want to act like Ferguson but they don’t have the skills so they cause damage.”
In response to Cellino’s interview, Evans responded: “We don’t mince our words here – there’s one owner, one boss and one decision-maker.
“When he’s ready to make that decision, Steve Evans will go to the meeting.
“You have to let the people responsible make the decision in a timeframe which suits them but I’ve never hidden the fact that I want to be Leeds United head coach.”
When questioned further, Evans told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Cellino is entitled to his opinions.
“I don’t think that the comments about me were disrespectful. I wouldn’t be aggrieved if Cellino replaces me, but would be disappointed.!
Evans says he does have other options if he leaves Leeds, but insists he’s planning for next season at the club by looking at player recruitment unless ‘someone tells him otherwise’.
On Cellino’s remarks about English managers, Evans added: “I’m Scottish You’d have to ask the president if it was a broader comment.”