Steve Evans makes bold claim about next season at Leeds, talks about summer transfers
By Alex Stevens
Steve Evans has insisted Leeds will challenge for promotion to the Premier League next season if he remains as manager.
The Scot has said players would be signed in the summer who would beef up the squad and give the Championship’s best supported club a genuine chance of winning promotion.
Evans’ job is hanging by a thread after Leeds owner Massimo Cellino accused him of “talking too much” and cleared the way for another change of boss by saying he “cannot work with English managers.”
Leeds clinched their third straight win with a 2-1 win over Wolves on Tuesday night to climb to 11th place in the Championship table.
It remains to be seen if it strengthens Evans’ position but the 53-year-old is insistent that he wants to stay and build on the foundations that had been laid during his six-month tenure.
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“I think I am the best person to take the team forward, of course i do, but it’s the President’s decision,” Evans told BBC Radio Leeds on Tuesday night. “I 100 per cent believe that if I’m here, we will challenge for the Premier League.
“If the President thinks he can find someone better to do that, I have to respect his decision. I may not like it, and it may hurt, but I have to respect it.
“We’ve said for a long time that the longer we are here, the better Leeds will become. A lot of players have points to prove but I have no doubt if we remain in charge, we will fight for promotion.”
Evans says Cellino is continuing to support him privately amid reports that the Scot will become the sixth manager of the Italian’s two-year Elland Road tenure to be axed.
The controversial owner has spoken freely of his attempts to persuade an elite manager to take on the task of steering Leeds back to the top flight and a place in the Champions League.
Evans became the sixth first-team boss of Cellino’s reign last October and is currently the longest serving under the Italian but Cellino is yet to make any move towards extending the manager’s short-term contract.
However, Evans expects to still be in the Elland Road hotseat next season.
“My heart tells me I will be here, my head tells me I will be here, and I have to believe that,” he told BBC Radio Leeds on Tuesday night.
“I have to believe I’m supported by the people above and around me, and that’s why I think the supporters play such a vital part.
“I want to go into the summer as head coach, believing that when we sign the players we need to, the supporters will get excited and ready for the start of the season.”
In other Leeds news, ex-Elland Road striker Noel Whelan has given his verdict on Evans’ future.