CHRIS WOOD brought up his 20th goal of the season in a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest last night, prompting Leeds United head coach Garry Monk to admit: “I want more.”
Monk’s top scorer reached an impressive landmark on only his 31st appearance, setting Leeds up for a victory which moved the club back up to third in the Championship table.
Wood drilled home the rebound from a second-half corner to break the deadlock at Elland Road, prompting euphoric celebrations in which he was mobbed by his team-mates.
The New Zealand international’s finish was then followed by a sensational effort from Souleymane Doukara, a volley which briefly outshone Wood’s achievement.
Wood, however, has recovered spectacularly from a difficult start to the season in which he was jeered after being substituted in Leeds’ first home game and Monk said the forward was a “perfect example” of the attitude he had asked for at the start of the term.
United’s boss, though, called on Wood to push on from the 20-mark during the Championship run-in, saying: “Strikers love goals and to score 20 at this point is a fantastic achievement personally but you know I’m not interested in who scores the goals.
“Woody knows that himself. His job is to remain focused and to want more. He’s that type and he knows what I expect from him.
“I can’t play it down. Strikers thrive on goals, it gives them confidence, but Chris is a team player. You can see it. He doesn’t just do goals. He commits with and without the ball. He’s committed to how we play and he’s a leader in the group. We’re all very happy for him.”
Wood was the target of criticism from United’s crowd in the early weeks of the season but Monk said: “We’ve had good discussions with all the players personally and the key is to find their trigger and their motivation; to find a way of playing that can suit them and they can buy into.”
He added: “Chris is a perfect example of that and a lot of it comes down to confidence and mentality, something we’ve worked very closely on. Credit to him – to score 20 goals at this stage I’m willing to give him credit. But it’s about wanting more.”
Monk also reserved praise for Doukara’s 75th-minute strike, a volley driven into the top corner of the net after Forest headed another corner into his path on the edge of the box.
Forest caretaker Gary Brazil described the finish as one “you’d sit there and applaud” and Monk said: “You won’t see too many cleaner or better strikes than that one this season. It was an important goal as well because it gave us a second and that bit of breathing space.”
Leeds emerged from what Monk called a “mucky” first half to dominate the second, repairing the damage caused by Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Barnsley.
“The main thing for us was to bounce back, to show a reaction straight away,” Monk said. “That was our biggest motivation.”