Garry Monk on Sheffield Wednesday's gameplan against Leeds United and the 'courage and heart' shown in victory

Garry Monk was proud of the 'courage and heart' of his Sheffield Wednesday side after two late goals gave them three points against Leeds United.

By Graham Smyth
Saturday, 11th January 2020, 6:38 pm

The Owls had two shots on target and both went in, Jacob Murphy scoring three minutes from time before Atdhe Nuhiu's injury time insurance.

Former Whites boss Monk was overjoyed with Wednesday's response to a three-game losing streak over Christmas, beating Brighton away in the FA Cup and Leeds away in the Championship,

"It's a good win," he said.

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"It's a difficult game, we knew that before coming in here, it proved to be. We have to be delighted with that win, the way it worked for us.

"I have to give credit to those players. We had three games in a week and lost all three, then two really difficult games, against quality. The main thing we talked about was not playing with real courage and heart. We've played with real courage and real heart. Even if we'd lost today, we'd have been disappointed but we could live with that. We've shown a real response in these last two games. It showed what we were capable of. A fantastic win, a very difficult game. We managed to get two good goals, a clean sheet and three points."

Leeds missed a number of chances in the game, after getting the better of the first half. The hosts had 67 per cent of the possession and 14 shots, five of which were on target, but could not score.

Monk said his team grew into it in the second half and posed Leeds problems, before taking advantage of two mistakes from the home side in clinical fashion.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk now has 10 points from a possible 12 against Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa (Pic:Jonathan Gawthorpe)

"It's a blow for us with Fletch [Steven Fletcher out injured], top goalscorer with an all round presence," said Monk.

"We had to work in a different way in the games we've played against Leeds. We had a gameplan, we did that in the first half. In the second half the second phase was to step on a little bit. Still a very difficult game, very hard to do that. It managed to get us more into the game.

"This is a really difficult game. Every game I've had against Leeds has been hugely difficult. There might not always be chances but it's pressure and structurally you have to be very good. You need players with heart and determination. Second half we forced them if we could into mistakes in certain areas and we were able to punish two of them. I think second half we were good value for it. "

Monk has an enviable record against Bielsa, winning three games and drawing one as manager of both Birmingham and Wednesday.

"I think it's unfair to say it's a particular team, that's just sometimes how it happens," he said when asked about his results against the Argentine.

"You just have to find a gameplan to affect every game. We followed the game plan very well, did it with courage and heart."

The result pushed Wednesday back up into the play-offs and left Leeds, now second, six points clear of third-placed Brentford.

Monk admits his side are in a promotion fight but sounds keen to avoid heavy expectation given the topsy turvy, tight nature of the Championship.

"We know where we are, we had a bad week two weeks ago and in league positions we were out of it," he said.

"You have a good week and it changes. You'll see that for the next two months. We're happy to be in the fight.

"We have an opportunity to do it, we're going to fight for it but I don't think we're quite where Leeds are."