Leeds United: Cellino behind me says Monk

Garry Monk shows his frustration during Saturday's defeat to Huddersfield Town.
Garry Monk shows his frustration during Saturday's defeat to Huddersfield Town.
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Leeds United head coach Garry Monk has insisted that owner Massimo Cellino remained “very supportive” of him but admitted the club’s slide into the Championship’s bottom three could not afford to go unchecked for long.

Monk said Cellino’s backing had shown no sign of wavering amid United’s poor start to the season and he promised to turn around a run of form which dropped his squad to 22nd place over the weekend.

Leeds United head coach Garry Monk

Leeds United head coach Garry Monk

A fourth league defeat in six games at home to Huddersfield Town compounded a bad first month in which Monk’s squad earned four points.

Monk, who is eight matches into his reign, took umbrage after that loss with questions about the security of his job, with a key clash against bottom-of-the-table Blackburn Rovers looming at Elland Road.

Those questions were prompted by Cellino’s reputation for rapidly sacking head coaches but Monk said he and the 60-year-old were in regular contact and did not feel his position was under threat.

“I speak to the owner near enough every day,” Monk said. “He’s been great, very supportive of what we’re doing here and of myself, the staff and the players. We work closely.

“There’ll be ups and down but we’ll come through all that. It’s not the start to the season we wanted, that’s obvious, but we’re still very early in the season and there’s determination to get on the right track.

“I’ve proved in the past that I can be successful and successful at a higher level than this. You have to believe in that. I’ve been in football over 20 years professionally and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. We’ll come through this little period and we’ll come out strong.

“I understand the results side of it. I’m mindful of that and it’s not the start in terms of results that we wanted. But with the way the players have been working, I can only see good things for them ahead. We’re just in a difficult moment.”

Monk said he understood on reflection the scrutiny of his position. “That’s just the nature of near enough every club,” he said. “That’s for me to deal with but I don’t focus on that and that’s the truth.”

Blackburn are the only Championship side who have failed to win a league game this season and Leeds’ derby defeat to league leaders Huddersfield increased the importance of a meeting between two sides in the relegation places.

United are still to win a game at home and the club have taken just one point from three matches at their own ground this season.

“It makes it a very important game,” Monk said, “But every game we look to win. We don’t go into a game trying to do anything else.

“Every game is as important as the next but we haven’t had the results we wanted. There’s no getting away from that. The luxury in football is you get another game very soon to put it right.

“We need that first home win. The fans are waiting for it, we’re waiting for it and we have to make sure we go and do it. There’s no more waiting around. We want to get our season up and running at Elland Road and we have to do that very quickly.”

Monk set out this season with a 4-2-3-1 formation but rapidly reverted to a 4-4-2 system after a disappointing start. The former Swansea City manager conceded that his prefered style was yet to shine through but called again for patience.

“We’re not the team that I want us to be,” he said. “That’s going to take time.

“It’s happened in spells. The one 90 minutes where it happened was at Sheffield Wednesday. It hasn’t worked out as much as we would have liked in the other games but results help players express themselves and when you’re not going through a great spell of results, players try and make it a little bit safe or do things safer than normal. It my job to tell them not to worry.

“But of course you need to get points on the board. That’s standard. That’s obvious. Of course you can’t go on not getting points. We’ve been unfortunate in some circumstances not to have more than what we’ve got but we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves.

“If we get three points (against Blackburn), the place feels a little bit better again and confidence grows again.”

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