Garry Monk insisted he was happy to take home “a very good point” after a 96th-minute equaliser from Tom Cairney denied Leeds United victory at Fulham and slowed their charge to the play-offs.
Cairney curled home a brilliant effort with the last chance of an engrossing game to prevent Leeds from moving 11 points clear of seventh-placed Fulham in the Championship table. United were poised to kill off the threat of Fulham catching them after an early own goal from Tim Ream broke the deadlock at Craven Cottage but midfielder Kalvin Phillips was sent off late in the game as Fulham piled on the pressure and Cairney snatched a point with a top-corner finish deep into injury-time.
Monk admitted Leeds had missed a glaring opportunity to kill the contest when winger Alfonso Pedraza struck a post from close range earlier in the second half, but United’s head coach refused to be despondent after the result maintained an eight-point margin between his squad and the club directly below the division’s top six.
Leeds finished the night in fourth place and Monk, who was without injured top scorer Chris Wood, said: “I guess it feels a little bit like a sucker punch because of the way it came right at the very end but that’s football. We have to take it on the chin and ultimately it’s a very good point against a very good side.
“I thought we were excellent and I was really proud of that performance. I guess if anything we just needed that second goal. The chance where it hit the post would probably sealed the game for us.
“It’s another performance towards where we want to go and it’s another point towards what we want to do. Their goal was a fantastic strike and all in all, we have to be very happy.”
Wood, who reached 25 goals for the season in last week’s win at Birmingham City, was left out as a precaution after complaining of a tight calf after that match.
He is expected to be fit for Saturday’s game against Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road.
Monk said: “Chris just had slight tightness in his calf. There’s no need for us to risk anything so we decided to leave him out. I trust all my players and they’ve shown before that when they come in they know what they’re doing.”