CHILD’S PLAY FOR REDFEARN ON A HAPPY RETURN
Reunion not so clever for Evans
NEIL REDFEARN branded Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino “childish” after the Italian refused to let the Rotherham boss park his car at Elland Road.
Redfearn, a diehard Leeds fan who spent more than eight years working for the club, was sacked in May by Cellino, who then called him a “weak baby”.
And insult was added to injury on Friday when Redfearn received a call saying Cellino had personally intervened to deny him a car-park pass on his first return to the club.
But the 50-year-old’s men delivered the perfect response with Joe Newell’s goal punishing a lifeless Leeds display that saw both sides finish with ten men.
“It was very childish,” said Redfearn, who took charge of Rotherham in October. “He needs to grow up. I just told (coach) Paul Warne to drive my car in and park it under his name. So he’s not that clever, is he?”
And while Redfearn reaffirmed his love for Leeds, he admitted the victory – which also lifted his side off the foot of the Championship – was made sweeter by getting one over on Cellino.
“I wasn’t bothered about what he called me,” added Redfearn.“What comes out of his mouth is irrelevent. But it has been tough.We all know it hasn’t been handled well by Leeds. That’s not me saying something you don’t know – everyone knows it.
“The bottom line is that the work we did here last season has put Leeds in a better position. I’ve got to be happy with that.
“At some point, this club has to have stability. It has to plan. And he has to realise that it isn’t going to take 12 months. That’s not rocket science. That’s common sense. But that’s his problem now, not mine.”
For the other returning manager, there was no such vindication. Steve Evans spent three years in charge of Rotherham, leading them from League Two to the Championship.
Dismissed in September and subsequently appointed by Leeds, he is Cellino’s sixth manager in 18 months; both Dave Hockaday and Darko Milanic were jettisoned after six games, and the Scot may be fearing a similar fate after a display that simply failed to ignite.
Yes, the Whites had chances. Alex Mowatt saw a snap shot turned away by Lee Camp, Chris Wood miscued a header. Luke Murphy was denied by Joe Toffolo, Mirco Antenucci hammered embarassingly wide.
But there was no cohesion, no penetration, no concerted periods of pressure and about as much finesse as a nail-studded bludgeon.
“I don’t think we lacked application,” said Evans. “We lacked quality, especially in midfield and up front.” Too right.
Rotherham, too, were more about sweat than style, though their clincher was a pinprick of excellence in an otherwise functional display. Richie Smallwood, who was tremendous throughout, whipped a devilish ball into the box and Newell, running off the back of Scott Wooton, glanced it perfectly beyond Marco Silvestri.
Former Newcastle striker Leon Best had largely failed to make an impact on his debut for the Millers. That was rectified when his swinging elbow connected with the nose of Gaetano Berardi, splashing claret all over his lilywhite shirt. Enraged, the Italian shoved Best to the floor, then bundled a peace-keeping linesman aside. Both men were correctly sent off, leading to an engagingly open final ten minutes.
“Berardi’s been absolutely smashed,” added Evans. “It was quite a horrific elbow. But you can’t react like that and we’ll deal with him accordingly.”
Evans admitted defeat to his old club stung but – unlike his chairman – at least had the decency to recognise Redfearn’s achievements.
“I always take defeats in a bad way and to lose to a club that I took real pride in serving for three years is doubly tough to take,” said Evans, who is hopoing to sign three players before Thursday’s deadline.
“I congratulate Neil on his first win.We wish them well but we feel we contributed to them getting the three points.”
WINNER: Rotherham United midfielder Joe Newell scores the game’s only goal