Warnock ready to extend unlikely alliance with 'matador' Diouf after striker dazzles at Leeds
09:18 GMT, 27 September 2012
Neil Warnock is ready to extend one of football’s unlikeliest alliances for the rest of the season, at least, after describing El Hadji Diouf as ‘a matador’ who has the Elland Road crowd in the palm of his hand.
The Leeds manager’s perception of Diouf varies somewhat from 20 months ago, when he likened him to a sewer rat for verbally abusing Jamie Mackie, as the QPR defender lay on the pitch with a broken leg.
Diouf hit back by labelling the then-QPR boss ‘a nobody’, but the vitriol was all forgotten at the start of this season, when Warnock handed him an Elland Road contract until the New Year and insisted their differences had been resolved.
Staying on: El Hadji Diouf will be a Leeds player until at least the end of the season
Seven weeks on, the truce appears to be holding fast, following a stirring Capital One Cup triumph over Everton that brought out the showman in the 31-year old one-time Liverpool forward.
Predictably barracked throughout by Everton fans, he lapped it up by cupping his ears and blowing kisses to his detractors.
At the other end, a standing ovation every time he took a corner was acknowledged with a wave.
Asked if another contract was in the offing in January, Warnock nodded, and said: ‘Diouf isn’t going anywhere else. He has promised me certain things, and I’m happy with that.
Unlikely alliance: Neil Warnock had once described the striker as a 'sewer rat', now he says he is like a 'matador'
‘He’s certainly not doing it here for the money. He’s one of the lowest-paid players at the club and could have earned six or seven times his wages by going to Saudi Arabia or Dubai.
‘But there would be no point him doing that, because he wouldn’t get a stage like he’s got here. He’s a matador, isn’t he That’s what he is, and Elland Road is his stage.
‘He needs something like this. I think he realises he’s better off here, because he has given me his word (about staying), if that’s worth it. I think it is worth it, and I am sure he will keep being straight up with me.
‘I’ve been straight up with him. I told him I would get him fit and that he would be surprised how good he could be.
'There’s still a little bit more to do, but he’s nearly there. That was evident against Everton, because to go the full 90 minutes in a tie like that was a terrific effort.’
Delighted: Warnock has been impressed since the arrival of Diouf