Steve Evans won't be blinded by the lights following Leeds' draw with Boro

15 February 2016 11:23

Leeds head coach Steve Evans preferred to focus on his players' impressive display against Middlesbrough rather than the protest against divisive owner Massimo Cellino.

An entertaining if goalless Sky Bet Championship encounter at Elland Road was overshadowed by images being beamed onto the stadium by a group of disgruntled supporters.

Having grown tired of the on-field disappointments and off-field controversies that have punctuated Cellino's two-year ownership, protest group 'Time To Go Massimo' stepped up its campaign calling for the Leeds owner to sell.

Messages were projected onto the East Stand in an eye-catching display, but Evans was only interested in his side's impressive display in the goalless draw with promotion-chasing Boro.

"I wasn't aware of it," he said. "I think anyone who watches that performance wants to cheer for the team, don't they?

"That's as good a performance as I've had and I've won games. I've beat Hull here and that performance was much better than Hull.

"It's not to do with us, is it? All we can do is focus on what is on the grass.

"The first thing you learn when you arrive at Leeds United as an employee is you focus on your responsibilities.

"My responsibility is the team and anything else lies above me with the chief executive or the owner."

Pushed on the protest and fans' frustrations, Evans said: "It's not my job to get involved with supporters.

"I think supporters are quite rightfully the lifeblood of every club. I am a Glasgow Celtic supporter and Glasgow Celtic supporters are the lifeblood of that club.

"Leeds United supporters are long here before any owner arrives or head coach, manager, player, and they will be here for a long time after.

"But our supporters want to see performances on the pitch - that's what disappoints them more than anything.

"I think tonight they go home having seen an outstanding performance, but at the same time our inconsistency has made us a mid-table side at this minute in time.

"But when you look at that performance tonight, Aitor Karanka probably goes back on the coach and says 'well, if Leeds play like that every week and they've got to play teams challenging, then they will not be guaranteed to be picking three easy points up'."

In fact, Evans said Karanka would likely be returning to the north east counting himself lucky to leave Elland Road with a point - a suggestion the Middlesbrough manager rejected.

"I would have had more luck if the referee and the linesman had seen the goal," he said, referring to Jordan Rhodes' disallowed first-half header.

"I think it was the key and if we had scored that goal (and the ball had not been ruled to have gone out of play in the build-up), the game would have changed completely.

"For that reason, he has to be more pleased than me because we had a lot more chances than them.

"They had chances the last minute when we had just 10 players, but I don't know what we have to do here.

"Last year was a disallowed goal, this year another one. We have to keep going."

Karanka was also frustrated by the bookings dished out to his players, with Ben Gibson sent off late on for collecting two yellow cards.

"Maybe both of them have been yellow cards, but once again I can't understand why it's so easy to show us yellow cards and it is not the same for the other teams," he said.

"There were a lot of moments that they deserved yellow cards and sometimes red cards."

Source: PA