fbpx Skip to main content

Michael Skubala says he is excited and not overwhelmed after being asked to extend his role as interim manager at Leeds.

The West Yorkshire club are still on the hunt for a permanent replacement for Jesse Marsch after they sacked the American 10 days ago.

Leeds Under-21s boss Skubala was initially put in place for the two Premier League games in five days against Manchester United, but after a series of setbacks in their search, the club have asked him to stay longer in the role.

The former England Under-18s coach, who has also spent time as the head coach of England’s futsal team, said: “I didn’t expect to be here, that’s honest, but I’ve been coaching for many years in the background and in different ways.

“Overwhelming? I don’t think so, I’m OK. I’ve got a great support network around me with the staff, the board and the club itself and for me the fans have been brilliant as well.

“Hopefully they can see I’m just trying to do the best job I can do, so I wouldn’t say overwhelming, I’d say exciting really.”

Leeds have failed to make a swift appointment after Marsch’s exit, with Carlos Corberan, Arne Slot and Andoni Iraola all ruled out of the running, while a possible short-term replacement, Alfred Schreuder, is no longer an option.

The Whites are a point above third-from-bottom Everton and the two sides face each other at Goodison Park on Saturday in what could prove to be a key fixture in the relegation battle.

Skubala described Saturday’s game as “huge”, but feels there is still enough time for Leeds to move clear of the bottom three.

He said: “It’s an opportunity for three points, that’s all I’m focused on, Everton, and if we do well I’ll be focused on the next game.

“There’s still a lot of games to go, we need to pick up points, but there’s a lot of games. We’re excited to try and get three points. That’s the most important thing.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge. I love working with top players and sorting a game plan for top opposition.”

Leeds are scheduled to play bottom club Southampton a week on Saturday, but no longer face the prospect of going up against Marsch, who had been favourite to replace Nathan Jones at the south-coast club before talks broke down.

Skubala will monitor injured trio skipper Liam Cooper, Marc Roca and Luis Sinisterra before Saturday’s game, while Pascal Struijk is likely to be in contention after recovering from concussion.

Meanwhile, Leeds have exercised an option to extend Luke Ayling’s contract until the summer of 2024.

The 31-year-old vice-captain, who has made 237 appearances in all competitions since arriving at the club from Bristol City in 2016, would have been out of contract at the end of this season.