An upbeat Kyle Bartley said he was determined to enjoy the Championship run-in and the closing stages of Leeds United’s bid for promotion with the pressure rising ahead of Saturday’s game against Brighton at Elland Road.
The United centre-back insisted that he and Garry Monk’s players would stick to a pre-season order from the club’s head coach to “enjoy our football” as the Championship’s leading clubs fight to secure automatic promotion and play-off positions.
Leeds are fourth in the division with nine games to go and have no serious chance of claiming a top-two finish but Monk’s side meet second-placed Brighton at Elland Road in a televised encounter on Saturday and will attempt to consolidate their play-off pace by extending their unbeaten run into a seventh game.
Bartley, who is on a season-long loan from Premier League Swansea City, revealed how Monk told his squad that apparent disquiet amongst previous groups of players at Leeds was a “big reason why the club haven’t been successful” in recent seasons and the 25-year-old said he was focused on resisting tension as United head into their last nine games.
Asked what message Monk had been giving his players, Bartley told LUTV: “It’s been to try and play without pressure, to try and stick to his game plan and philosophy and to enjoy ourselves.
“One of the main things he said when he came in was that watching Leeds in the past, the boys here didn’t seem to enjoy their football that much.
“He thought that was quite a big reason why the club haven’t been successful and you can see on the pitch this season that we enjoy it.
“Even tough games like Fulham, were we had to do a lot of defending, we spoke about enjoying that side of the game and seeing where it takes us.”