Darko Milanic may have been relieved of his managerial duties at Leeds United, but claims he has only been put on 'paid leave'.
Darko Milanic lasted just 32 days as Leeds United manager, with club president Massimo Cellino opting to part with his services after six games in charge – following a 2-1 reversal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Elland Road may not have seen the last of the Slovenian tactician, though, with it possible that there is another twist to be taken in this remarkable tale.
Academy boss Neil Redfearn finds himself in the all too familiar position of bridging the coaching gap, with various reports suggesting that Cellino is ready to hand the reins to a man accustomed to filling an interim post on a more permanent basis.
But what of Milanic? His shadow continues to linger, with a man handed a two-year contract upon his appointment at the end of September claiming that his deal has not been cancelled and that he could be drafted back into the dugout if Cellino – who has previous when it comes to such calls – decides to change his mind.
Milanic told Radio Slovenija: “My contract was not terminated, I'm on paid leave. During this time I must be ready at all times to once again take over the team, if requested by the owner.
“My contract continues to run and I'm on vacation. I signed for two years and I will not terminate my contract.
“In six games I made a big step forward. It is true that we have had bad results, but we should have won more points, we played better than results show.
“Just before my last match, I could hear praise from all sides about how compact Leeds are now, how the situation is improving.
“Cellino said that I'm a loser? He should look at my CV. Despite everything I do not believe I made a mistake by joining Leeds. I just wish that somebody would believe in me. Sometimes managers just need some support.”
Milanic may be looking for ‘support’ in the wrong places if he expects Cellino to offer an olive branch, with the Italian having acquired the rather unfortunate nickname of ‘The Manager Eater’ during his time at the helm of Serie A side Cagliari.
It is, however, worth remembering that Brian McDermott was relieved of his managerial duties at Leeds as Cellino wrestled for control of the club, only to be reinstated a few days later.
Maybe there is hope for Milanic. Maybe we have not seen the last of a man who enjoyed considerable success in his homeland with Maribor. Given that Leeds have already been under the guidance of three bosses this season – Milanic, Readfearn and Dave Hockaday – anything would appear to be possible.