Garry Monk praised his Leeds players after a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest moved them third, with Souleymane Doukara and Chris Wood earning particular praise.
Leeds’ brilliant form since October hit a wall when they lost at Barnsley, but struggling Forest were swept aside as Monk’s men made it six home clean sheets and victories in a row.
After a sterile first half of few chances, United seized the initiative after the restart and secured a 2-0 win thanks to Wood’s 20th of the season and Doukara’s incredible volley.
Doukara’s 20-yard thunderbolt was typical of Leeds under Monk; a player previously maligned playing with a freedom seldom seen before.
“It was a fantastic strike, you won’t see too many cleaner or better ones this season,” Monk said.
“It was a fantastic goal but the main thing for us was to bounce back. We felt it would be important, when we spoke in pre-season, to bounce back from negatives, show we could recover.
“It was a difficult first half, their game plan was working. It made the tempo lower and we found it difficult at times. It ended up a mucky game, stale. We made a few tweaks, upped our intensity and we win games when we do that.
“To show we can bounce back, that was the main thing.”
Doukara’s goal ensured that Wood’s 20th of the campaign was a mere afterthought.
— englandLeedsLDS (@WhinmoorWhite) January 25, 2017
However, given the New Zealander was booed off in August and felt moved to celebrate a goal in the next game with a cupped ear to the crowd, his turnaround is an emphatic one.
“It’s a fantastic achievement,” Monk said.
“Strikers love goals, to score 20 at this point is fantastic but I’m not interested in who scored the goals. He knows that himself, his job is to want more and to push for more. He’s a leader and he knows what I expect of him.”
On Wood’s turnaround in fortunes, Monk added: “I trust all my players. I believe in them. The key is to find their trigger, their motivation and they buy into what we want them to do. Chris is a perfect example of that. Credit to him, but it’s now about wanting more.”