Leeds No 2 praises Monk; wants Man Utd at Elland Road

James Marshment
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Assistant coach Pep Clotet paid tribute to the way Garry Monk handled a tough start to life at Elland Road after Leeds made it three straight wins against Blackburn in the EFL Cup.

Monk, who was installed as Massimo Cellino’s latest head coach in the summer, faced questions over his future just six league games into his tenure after a 1-0 home defeat by West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield left Leeds in the Sky Bet Championship bottom three.

But two victories over Blackburn either side of a 2-0 win at Cardiff have kick-started Leeds’ season.

Substitute Chris Wood’s late strike booked United’s place in the fourth round and Clotet credited Monk for the turnaround in the team’s performances.

“I’ve worked a lot with Garry and I’m always very impressed with the way he handles difficult moments,” said Clotet, who was also Monk’s right-hand man at Swansea.

“He always keeps cool, keeps believing in his way and keeps empowering everyone to drive forward. He never adds pressure; he takes the pressure away.

“He’s been superb. He’s a very good, young English manager with a bright future – and now a bright future for Leeds.

“I think he’s managed these last few weeks perfectly and he got us through that period very well with a lot of passion for the club.”

Both sides made wholesale changes – Blackburn nine to Leeds’ seven – and it showed during a poor first half played out in front of just 8,488 spectators at Elland Road.

The game improved after the break and was settled by Wood’s sixth goal of the season.

“We’re delighted because it was a hard start to the season,” said Clotet.

“We worked very hard. The commitment of the players has always been there and their hard work has paid off with three wins in a row.

“But at the same time we’ll keep our feet on the ground because we know how hard it is to win games in the Championship.

“The good thing this team has done is to have a difficult start and get back into it with a lot of confidence and hard work.

“Whatever setback we find in the future, we know we have the tools to stand up and keep fighting for the club.”

Asked who he fancied in the next round, Clotet answered: “I would like to see Leeds and Manchester United here at Elland Road.

“But anyone we draw now will be difficult, like it was today.”