Updated: Monday, 03 February 2014 23:51 | By Agence France-Presse

McDermott won't quit as Leeds manager

Brian McDermott insisted on Monday he wanted to carry on as Leeds United manager after an extraordinary weekend where he appeared to be 'sacked' by the English Championship club.

McDermott won't quit as Leeds manager

Leeds manager Brian McDermott arrives for a FA Cup match at Old Trafford in Manchester on February 18, 2013 - by Paul Ellis

McDermott was 'fired' on Friday by a lawyer working on behalf of prospective owner Massimo Cellino, who is in the process of buying a 75 percent stake in the second-tier side.

The 52-year-old was therefore unsurprisingly absent from Saturday's 5-1 win over Huddersfield Town at Elland Road, which was watched by former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa, the man it appeared Italian businessman Cellino had lined up to replace McDermott.

But McDermott told a news conference on Monday he wouldn't quit his job.

"For me, walking away would have been the easy thing to do. I wasn't interested in that, I want to be Leeds United manager," he said.

McDermott had banned Festa from sitting with him in the dugout during the midweek draw with Ipswich Town, and refused to take a number of Italian players given to him by Cellino, who also owns Serie A side Cagliari.

But in a further twist, McDermott said Monday that Festa had been at Leeds' training ground earlier that day to see Andrea Tabanelli, a 23-year-old player signed on loan by the club when McDermott had been temporarily relieved of his duties.

"Gianluca Festa was at the training ground this morning as we have an Italian player, "McDermott said.

"I don't know the player. He came on the transfer deadline day. Whether that's been ratified by the Football League I don't know. 

"If he has been ratified he will get the utmost respect and hopefully he can help us."

Last week it emerged McDermott had been invited to the Huddersfield match and declined, before the League Managers Association (LMA) said on Saturday that he'd been sacked by someone who had no authority to do so.

Leeds responded by saying former Reading manager McDermott was still in charge.

Current Leeds owners Gulf Finance House Capital (GFH Capital) confirmed the news Cellino has agreed to buy a majority stake in a statement ahead of the Huddersfield game, but the deal is reportedly still subject to Football League approval.

And McDermott stressed he was going nowhere.

"I'm assured I talk to GFH and GFH only. Whether it was illegal or not I don't know but whoever sacks the manager has to own the football club."

Despite the boardroom chaos, Leeds responded impressively on the pitch as captain Ross McCormack hit a hat-trick after Huddersfield opened the scoring.

All of Leeds' goals were celebrated by the fans with songs of support for McDermott.

One of England's leading clubs in the early 1970s, when a team managed by Don Revie boasted players of the quality of Jack Charlton, John Giles and Peter Lorimer, Leeds are now 11th in the Championship table.

That leaves them eight points off a play-off spot as they bid to return to the top flight following relegation a decade ago and a brief spell in English football's third tier.

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