Leeds United entering ‘must-win’ territory with Blackburn Rovers visit

Leeds United's head coach Garry Monk feels the frustration.
 Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Leeds United's head coach Garry Monk feels the frustration. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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GARRY MONK conceded that he and Leeds United were entering must-win territory ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Blackburn Rovers after suffering a fourth league defeat to Huddersfield Town.

Monk said the visit of bottom-of-the-table Blackburn Rovers to Elland Road had become a “very important game” with Leeds trapped in the Championship’s relegation places with only four points.

United succumbed to a second-half goal from Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy on Saturday, losing 1-0 at home as Town stretched their lead at the top of the table, and Monk said a positive result was needed tomorrow to lift the confidence of his out-of-form squad.

Monk, whose tenure as Leeds’ coach has spanned just eight competitive matches, reacted coldly to questions about pressure on him at full-time but did not deny that a narrow loss to Huddersfield had compounded a bad first month of the season.

“We can’t dwell on that,” Monk said. “We have to get a real reaction on Tuesday now and we have to take three points. It’s as simple as that. It’s what we have to be motivated for and that’s what I said to the players. We have to be ready because it’s a very important game.

“We understand that results are important. We want to get the win and we want to get three points to lift us and get ourselves going.”

Leeds are yet to win a home game this season and have so far recorded only one league victory away at Sheffield Wednesday but Monk insisted that a shortage of confidence among his players was not reflective of a lack of belief in his methods or strategy.

“Belief comes from what you’re doing and the work you do every day,” Monk said. “Belief doesn’t come from results. But confidence comes from results so we need one on Tuesday for sure.

“This group of players doesn’t go out with the intention not to do well. I’d be very open with you if I thought it was any different. Things are going to against us at the moment but we stick together and I’m sure it’ll turn for us.

“We work in a way which is good enough and we all believe that, 100 per cent. Of course we care.”

Monk was involved in a tense interview with the BBC at full-time, deflecting questions about the security of his job and saying his relationship with United owner Massimo Cellino was “none of your business.”

Asked what Cellino had made of Leeds’ start to the season, Monk said: “I’m not going to give someone else’s opinion. You’ll have to ask the man himself.”

Cellino, who has sacked or replaced six previous head coaches in two-and-half years at Elland Road, is surrounded by claims that he is preparing to sell a majority stake in Leeds to a party led by fellow Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani. Late last week, Cellino acquired a 100 per cent shareholding in United by agreeing a deal to buy out the equity held by Bahraini bank and former club owner Gulf Finance House.

Radrizzani was seen alongside Cellino at a league game away at Queens Park Rangers last month and a pre-season friendly against Atalanta but he was not in attendance for the defeat to Huddersfield.

Cellino sat in the West Stand on Saturday and was spotted alongside Francesco Marroccu, until recently the sporting director of Serie B club Ascoli and a man previously employed in that same role under Cellino at Cagliari.

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