A bullish Garry Monk insisted Leeds United were still in full control of their season after a ruthless Brentford team condemned his players to a second defeat in four days.
United’s head coach held his hands up to an “exceptional” first half performance from Brentford as his side suffered a 2-0 loss at Griffin Park but he played down the threat of nerves taking hold with six games of the Championship campaign to play.
Leeds, who have held a play-off position since the first half of the season, are five points clear of seventh-placed Fulham – helped by the Cottagers’ defeat at Derby County last night – but failed to take anything from back-to-back away fixtures at Reading and Brentford.
Brentford are already destined for a mid-table finish but the London club tore into Leeds before half-time, finding the net through Romaine Sawyers and Lasse Vibe and denied further goals by an inspired display from United goalkeeper Rob Green.
Leeds saw more chances in the second half and Monk said: “What we needed was for one of them to go in. It might have given us a chance to change the game but it didn’t and there are no excuses from us.
“It’s not often we’ve had to stand here with back-to-back defeats but I think in the first half we have to credit Brentford.
“I’ve watched a lot of them this season and that’s one of the best first-half displays I’ve seen from them. They were exceptional and they made it very difficult for us.
“It’s disappointing but it doesn’t change our situation from where we were.
“We had eight games and now we’ve got six games. We’ll be ready for those six games.
“No-one would have thought we’d be in this position at the start of the season so let’s give credit to this group. I have full trust in them.”
Simon Grayson’s Preston North End, who thrashed Bristol City 5-0 last night and still have a slim chance of making the top six, will visit Elland Road this weekend for the first of three remaining home fixtures.
Monk said: “We’ve got another opportunity on Saturday and I know already from speaking to the lads at the end that they’ll be ready to put on a performance.”