Leeds United: Monk's the perfect man for United '“ Whelan

At the beginning of the season everyone is optimistic.

Thursday, 4th August 2016, 3:00 pm
Garry Monk.

Everyone is looking to get into the play-offs and I really think that we’ve got to be at least aiming for the play-off positions and taking it from there.

I felt that last season we had the squad to do it but obviously I am gutted about the departure of Lewis Cook who I felt could have been an integral part to the club and to our promotion chances this season.

But we don’t have him now so we’ve got to deal with what we have got and I believe we should still have enough in the team to at least make the play-offs.

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There are probably more obvious teams than ourselves who could make the play-offs – but I don’t think it always comes down to having the better squad.

Sometimes it comes down to heart and having a bit of guts about you and also getting stability within the squad.

Obviously we are not going to have the largest squad so it’s important that we keep as many people as fit as possible and I think that’s going to be the case for lots of teams in the Championship when it comes to their strongest XI.

It’s about a togetherness with the squad and I feel like they have got a stronger togetherness now that we have got rid of some of the other players during the summer.

And I think the players that we have got in are good strong players and not just physically but mentally as well and mentality is the most important thing in a squad.

If you have got that togetherness and a strong mentality in a group of players then it’s amazing what you can achieve.

I have heard the news that Charlie Taylor has apparently handed in a transfer request and although it has since been rejected, I think that was always on the cards.

I have thought for a while that we need to buy a wing-back because it did seem like Charlie was going to leave.

It looks as though he is eventually going to be out of the door but that’s not one of the more important areas that I would be concerned about.

The important areas are the strikers and the centre-halves and through that middle area of the team.

You can get away with losing a right-back and a left-back and for me what’s more important is that central core of the team where you need to be strong. I know Charlie was probably one of our best players last season but I would have rather have seen him leave than Lewis Cook to be quite honest.

But it looks like we will be losing them both, so hopefully we can use that money that will be coming our way to strengthen the squad in areas that I feel we need the most.

We have signed Pablo Hernandez and what a great signing he is. Everyone should be getting excited about that – a Spanish international joining the side for six months. Let’s see what he can do.

I think we have got enough to get in the play-offs now but once again it comes down to, can we keep everybody fit?

Can we get lucky and not have too many injuries at the same time and long-term injuries?

And it’s about getting off to a good start as well, let’s be honest.

We are going away to QPR which is a difficult game but momentum and confidence is everything as it breeds within the side and you can get that winning mentality so quickly.

I’m looking forward to us playing those big-name teams that have come down like Aston Villa and Newcastle United. I can’t wait for them to visit Elland Road and for us to travel to Villa Park and St James’.

In my eyes every single game is a massive game.

There’s no games that are easy, or a guaranteed three points.

You have got to go out and earn your victories and you have got to earn the right to come away with a win – whether that be home or away and once again that comes down to confidence, maturity, stability and a winning mentality.

You want mentally strong players out there and that never -say-die attitude which has always been the case at Leeds United – it’s the way we were all brought up and what the teams were made of along with the quality the players bring as well.

United have always had strong physical players who are mentally tough but who can also play.

That’s what we need – to get that nice blend of aggression and quality and bring it all together.

Then we have got the Leeds United of the old and the one we expect. Then we will be successful.

Newcastle are short-priced favourites and I think you have got to look them and Norwich haven’t you?

They have still got very strong squads and they have added to that depth as well, they have spent money and have still got Premiership managers within their ranks.

They have got to be favourites but at the same time knowing that they are favourites – they have got to deal with the pressure of that.

Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle is favourite to be top scorer and he’s a natural.

He’s got pace, he’s clever, he’s a fox in the box if you like but we have got some good strikers there and we have got Chris Wood who I think is going to be immense this season.

I’m hoping for big things from him now that he has got himself fit.

We know what he can do and we need to get him the service and the quality.

We need to get players up supporting him and if we can do that we will be a force to be reckoned with as well.

I was overjoyed when Garry Monk became our new head coach.

Not only is he a manager that is English but he’s managed in the Premiership and he seems like a really good guy.

And I just think he’s the right choice.

I think he is the one that is going to get the best out of the players, he will relate to the players and the players will like him and want to work for him and I think that is massive.

As a player, you want to play for your manager and he seems that kind of guy that you want to play for and you don’t want to let him down.

He will get the best out of the players as well.

Let’s just hope Massimo Cellino leaves him alone ...

I’ve always said from the beginning that he should just let the manager do his job.

The chairman has a different role to play within the club and the playing and results side of things come down to the manager and the players. Everything else away from that is the chairman’s responsibility.

It is his responsibility to keep the club running smoothly – to get good deals for players and to put the money forward if he needs to buy players.

And if Garry does fail then let it be on his own terms and not because anyone else is dictating what he should be doing or who he should be playing.

Let him walk away with his head held high if it doesn’t go his way. But I think if he is left to his own devices he will be very successful there and he will prove a very good manager for Leeds United.