Venables just can't lose, says sacked Leeds boss O'Leary

  • Other Sport
  • Tuesday, 11 Feb 2003

LONDON: Sacked Leeds boss David O'Leary believes his successor Terry Venables is in a no-lose situation at the troubled Premiership club. 

O'Leary told BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday the pressure was off the former England coach following chairman Peter Ridsdale's sale of players to help reduce the club's massive debt. 

“The impression I get looking in is I don't think he can go wrong, no matter what he does,” said O'Leary. 

“I don't think Terry can lose now. The pressure has been taken off and everything has been deflected away from him.” 

Leeds' hopes of a place in Europe next season now rest on winning the FA Cup – they have a fifth round tie with Crystal Palace this weekend – as their poor Premiership form has left them toiling in 13th place. 

“It looks like the only way they will get back into Europe,” said O'Leary, who is still smarting from reports that he had lost the support of the players at Elland Road. 

“That is totally untrue and hurt me a great deal,” he said. 

“They are a great bunch of people, we had a good spirit and came through some difficult things,” added O'Leary who agreed a compensation package rumoured to be around £3 million with the club last Monday. 

The former Ireland central defender, who scored the decisive penalty in the 1990 World Cup second round match with Romania, had led Leeds to a UEFA Cup and Champions League semi-final in successive seasons. 

However despite never finishing outside the top five under his regime, O'Leary's spending spree under Ridsdale has had serious consequences for his successor. 

Their enormous debts have led to the departures of international stars such as Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and Jonathan Woodgate among others and almost induced Venables into resigning. – AFP 

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