Leeds United: Boss Monk’s only focus is on success with Whites

Souleymane Doukara
Souleymane Doukara
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GARRY Monk says his former battles with Cardiff City “mean nothing” – with the head coach only interested in mastering a new rivalry in charge of Leeds United.

Monk spent 12 years at Cardiff’s fierce South Wales rivals Swansea City between 2004 and 2015 as first a player turned captain and then manager.

Monk’s very first game in charge of Swansea also came at Cardiff in which the visitors enjoyed a 3-0 victory which will live long in the memory of Saturday’s hosts.

But Monk insists he has no lingering emotion concerning Cardiff and is only interested in impressing the 2,100 travelling Whites fans who will be making the trip to the Welsh capital for Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off.

Reflecting on his former duels with Cardiff at Swansea, Monk mused: “It was brilliant and that rivalry was great from both sides. But that’s gone and it means nothing to me.

“I am very focused on Leeds United and that rivalry because it will be a great atmosphere I can imagine. We are going to take a lot of travelling fans, as we do to all of the games.

“We have to give them a performance that they can be proud of. We experienced it really well at Sheffield Wednesday, at Luton – that feeling – and Fleetwood as well.

“The support are travelling in numbers and want the right performance again so that’s what we are concentrating on.

“I am manager of Leeds United and my players are the most important thing to me.

“Everything to do with my history and my past means nothing. It’s a different chapter in my life and it’s not part of what the players need to know or understand. It’s part of what they need to do for this game.”

Leeds themselves have had an abysmal record at Cardiff over recent years but the Whites netted their first victory in ten visits and their first since February 1984 when goals from Souleymane Doukara and Mirco Antenucci sealed a 2-0 success under Steve Evans in March, when the Bluebirds were managed by Russell Slade.

Paul Trollope was appointed Slade’s replacement in May but Cardiff have began the current campaign poorly and approach Saturday’s clash on the back of three consecutive league losses, with Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Preston prolonging a miserable start.

The Bluebirds have only picked up four points from seven games and sit 21st, hovering above the dropzone on goal difference.

“I am expecting a determination and it’s always a difficult place to play,” said Monk.

“I’ve experienced it myself as a player.

“And they are a good team. They have good quality.

“Yes they are in a difficult moment but I know Paul and I like him very much.

“He is a new manager into management so he is learning very quickly as well but he is a very good manager as well, I have seen him work.

“I am expecting a reaction from them.

“They will be disappointed with their mid week result but in all of our games we focus on us.

“We have to respect Cardiff but really go down there with the intention that we had on Tuesday night, to keep that momentum going, the confidence that we took from that game and put that on to the pitch.

“We will be determined to do that and try and improve on what we have done before and go down there which is a difficult place to play but try and get a real performance and a positive result.”

Reflecting on Cardiff’s start to the season so far, Monk declared: “It’s surprising to see them where they are at this moment in time.

“But it’s always difficult at the start of the league, especially if you are a new manager.

“But they have a very experienced squad so it’s always trying to find that way and Paul is trying to implement his ideas down there.

“It takes time and with us here, we are trying to implement us.

“But we go down there fully focused on what we have to do, we have to be ready and determined to put a good performance on and get a positive result and that’s all we are going to concentrate on.”

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