Leeds United: Calm approach from Monk eases pressure on players

Assistant head coach Pep Clotet, left, with Leeds manager Garry Monk. 
Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Assistant head coach Pep Clotet, left, with Leeds manager Garry Monk. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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Pep Clotet has praised Garry Monk for keeping the pressure off Leeds United’s players and staff during the club’s disappointing start to the season.

Monk’s Spanish assistant said United’s head coach had shown no sign of suffering under the strain after coming in for heavy criticism after a 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

That result left Leeds with four points after six league games, leading to questions about Monk’s future at Elland Road, but United recovered with successive Championship wins over Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City and reached round four of the League Cup with a narrow victory against Blackburn on Tuesday night.

Clotet worked at Swansea City as Monk’s No 2 and came to Leeds with the 37-year-old after United appointed Monk at the start of June.

Clotet said: “I’ve known Garry for a long time and I’m always impressed with the way he handles things, especially the difficult moments for any manager. He always keeps very cool and he keeps believing, showing everyone that this is the way. He empowers everyone to drive forward and do your best but he never adds pressure. He takes the pressure off and I didn’t see that (pressure) in his treatment of us. He’s been superb and he’s a very good manager.

“In the last two weeks, he managed things perfectly and he got us through this period very well with a lot of passion.”

Leeds will look to register a fourth successive victory at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday having fought back from an early run of form which left them in the Championship’s bottom three.

Defender Pontus Jansson, who missed the Blackburn cup tie through illness, is expected to return and captain Liam Bridcutt should also be available after sitting out two matches with a swollen foot.

Clotet said: “We would love to make it four wins (in a row) but we’ll have to work very hard for it.

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