New manager Milanic checks in at Leeds United
Leeds United, 14/1 to secure promotion from the Championship this term, have appointed Slovenian Darko Milanic as their new manager on a two-year contract, after the 46-year-old successfully negotiated the release from the Austrian club Sturm Graz, by exercising a clause in his three-year contract.
Upon leaving Graz, Milanic said: “It was not an easy decision to go. I really wanted to stay here longer.
“Sturm is my club and here I experienced great times as a player and a coach. I won new friends. But then an offer came from a different league, from another world,” he continued.
“This is a tremendous opportunity that I had to accept simply because who knows when such an offer will come again?”
Owner Massimo Cellino has been searching for new candidates since dismissing David Hockaday on August 28, and after reportedly meeting a number of candidates, Milanic is thought to have caught the eye the most.
On the appointment, Milanic, who has won a total of nine league and cup titles while he was in charge of Maribor said:
Understandably, Cellino was delighted to have finally found his man after a considerable search for Hockady’s replacement. The Italian said: “I’ve taken my time because I wanted the right man.
“If I rush, we burn and I could not afford a mistake.
“Darko is a humble guy. He talks little but he works a lot and he’s a coach who knows about international players.
“He’s hard-working, he’s positive, and his assistant coach is a very positive person too.
“He speaks a lot of languages, he can work with foreign players – English, Italian, any nationality – and he can relate to foreign players,” Cellino continued, who also said the SLovenian was “a very cool guy”.
“When I spoke to him I knew that he was right for us.
“His style and his philosophy is right for us.”
Academy boss Neil Redfearn took charge in a caretaker role, following Hockaday’s sacking, and Leeds immediately began to string results together, taking 10 points from four fixtures, that included difficult trip to Birmingham and Bournemouth.
Milanic will inherit a squad of players, who are showing signs that they are just starting to gel, though arguably, it has been Redfearn who has got the best out of them. One of the favourite’s for relegation at the start of the campaign, mainly due to Cellino bringing a raft of unknown players, inexperienced in English football, however, his advisers clearly seemed to know what they were doing. All of a sudden, Leeds look hungry; helped by young, new blood that have recognised the opportunity they have been given to succeed, and reap the rewards of hard work.