Garry Monk reflects on 'surprising' Leeds United departure, talks up Marcelo Bielsa's outfit ahead of derby day clash

Garry Monk has revealed his surprise at his departure from Leeds United over two seasons ago but admits he "loved" his time as head coach at Elland Road.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 2:30 pm
Updated Friday, 25th October 2019, 5:19 pm
Sheffield Wednesday head coach Garry Monk. (Getty)

The 40-year-old will be reunited once again with the Whites this weekend as he prepares his Sheffield Wednesday side to take on Marcelo Bielsa's men.

Monk enjoyed a year spell in LS11 during the 2016-17 campaign where he guided United to a seventh place finish as they narrowly missed out on a play-off berth in the latter stages of the season.

The current Owls boss departed West Yorkshire following Andrea Radrizzani's full takeover of the club with both parties revealing their surprise following Monk's resignation just a day before a one-year contract extension was set to be triggered.

Monk later joined Championship rivals Middlesbrough before a spell at Birmingham City last term following his sacking at the Riverside after a difficult run.

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Asked if he expected more time with Leeds in the build-up to this weekend's Yorkshire derby, he admitted: "At the time you do expect it.

"It was a bit of a surprise (to leave) but at the end of the day the new owner came in and they want different things and if you can't find that middle ground then you don't need to put yourself in that situation.

"That's how I felt at the time and how the club felt at the time. Everything else around it, people will have opinions on it, people will talk about it, but the truth is the truth, there's no getting away from it.

"I loved my time there, I really enjoyed it. I'm proud of the work we did there and we brought what was a fractured club into something with spirit and union.

"But this game isn't about that. It's about Sheffield Wednesday, it's about a big, historic club like this and us putting that back in the place that we want to go to.

"It will take a lot of work, it's a big job and there's a lot of work to go to be able to do that but we're taking small steps early in my reign and we need to continue to do that.

"It's a massive atmosphere, it's a derby game, two big clubs, all the tradition and history that goes with it and two teams that are doing well at this point in time.

"We're at home, we'll have a massive following behind us, we'll try to harness that in our performance and I'm sure the fans will be right up for this one."

The two sides sit second and third in the Championship table ahead of the Saturday lunchtime showdown at Hillsborough which has added another layer of intrigue to the encounter.

Bielsa's side enter the fixture following a midweek draw with Preston North End at Deepdale while Monk saw his side defeat Stoke City on home soil.

"They're up there with a couple who were favourites at the start of the season," Monk said of the clash with Leeds.

"They're expected to go up as they were last year. They were unlucky in the situation they had in the play-offs and all credit to Derby for what they did.

"That's the situation with that club. That's the expectation. It was there when I was there, we were in a completely different situation when we were starting off.

"There were a lot of issues on and off the pitch there that we had to overcome and get back together. But they're a lot more settled off the pitch and they came close last season. That's the demand of a big club.

"That club should be back in the Premier League, it should be, like many other big clubs in this league and I think the way that they talk and the way they go about it, they expect themselves to be in the Premier League.

"The players expect it, from the way that their players talk. It's a big, big season for them.

"We're on our own path, we've got out own focus, but we'll respect the fact that they're a good team in the way that they play."