Leading scorer Ross McCormack saw his 94th-minute penalty saved as Leeds’ woes multiplied at Elland Road last night in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Charlton.
Boss Brian McDermott said afterwards that he resented suggestions he should quit after Charlton condemned the troubled Yorkshire club to a fourth defeat in their last five home matches.
Iran international Reza Ghoochannejhad curled home a brilliant first goal in English football early in the second half and goalkeeper Ben Hamer produced a fine save to keep out 28-goal Ross McCormack’s last-gasp penalty to lift Charlton three points clear of the drop zone.
But while Charlton gave their survival bid a huge boost, Leeds slumped to a third straight defeat and sixth in seven matches after another performance that did little to lift the gloom at Elland Road.
Leeds, waiting to learn the outcome of Massimo Cellino’s protracted £25million takeover bid, could spend the rest of the season looking over their shoulders after only three wins since December 21.
Leeds’ future has effectively been placed on hold while a judge in London decides whether or not to uphold the Football League’s decision to disqualify Cellino from taking control, and McDermott was clearly struggling to keep his emotions in check.
“I’ve been in football 30-odd years and I’ve never experienced anything like this, I really haven’t,” he said. “Both on and off the pitch. Someone’s just said to me that people are saying I should resign.
“Well actually, if people know what’s gone on here and what I’ve had to go through, then to make that suggestion... They won’t see me resigning, no way, absolutely no way.
“It’s just a joke really when I think about that.”
When asked if he resented that suggestion, the former Reading boss replied: “If I’d have come here and everything was stable and we had money available for players and everything was going right, then I could understand the sentiment behind that.
“Probably I wouldn’t be here. They’d have made a decision and when the new ownership comes in that decision will be made, whoever it might be.
“At this moment in time we haven’t got that decision, so we need to get that quick.”
Leeds’ coaching staff and players received only half of their March wages last week, and McDermott added that managing director David Haigh went into the dressing room before kick-off in a bid to offer the squad assurances.
However, McDermott said Haigh was not able to tell them when they would receive the remaining 50 per cent of their salaries.
“I’m not finding it easy,” the former Reading boss added. “There’s no doubt about that and it definitely tests you. I’ve definitely been tested. We’ve all been tested. The fans have been tested.
“They’ve been tested here for ten or 11 years. Someone said to me earlier on who’d been at the club a long time, this is as bad as they’ve seen it. But we’ve got to get through it because it’s a great club."