Garry Monk believes a limited schedule of pre-season games will pay off for Leeds United when the Championship term begins, saying a glut of fixtures would hinder his preparation for the new campaign.
United kicked off pre-season with a 2-1 victory over Shelbourne on Wednesday, claiming the win through goals from Souleymane Doukara and Hadi Sacko and producing a display which satisfied Monk after 10 days of training in Ireland.
The club’s head coach took his squad to Dublin less than a week into pre-season training and put them through a fortnight of work before throwing them into their first friendly in front of 3,200 fans at Tolka Park.
Wednesday’s match is one of only five organised by Monk this summer, including meetings with Guiseley and Peterborough United in the space of 24 hours next weekend, but he has no plans to arrange any further games before Leeds host Atalanta at Elland Road on the last Saturday before the start of the season.
Monk came into the job at Elland Road just seven weeks ago and the former Swansea City manager said time on the training pitch would be more valuable to him and his players as they prepare for a Championship term which United assistant Pep Clotet described as “one of the most difficult ever.”
Six new signings have arrived at Elland Road since Monk’s appointment, a tally offset by a number of departures. Lewis Cook was the most high profile exit, leaving United in a £10m move to Bournemouth midway through Leeds’ Irish training camp.
Monk, whose side’s next game is against Shamrock Rovers tomorrow afternoon, said: “The number of game we’ve got suits what I do better, from my experience. In terms of the games we’ve arranged, there are more than enough for us as it is. It’s more than enough to allow us to prepare the team.
“When you come in as a new manager, you’re trying to get a lot of things, a lot of information, over to a group of players who haven’t worked with you before. You need time to do that and the best place to do it is on the training pitch.
“If we pack out the summer with games then we’ll spend a lot of days in between recovering and we won’t be on the training field enough. That’s where we need to be because that’s what will make the most difference. It’s very hard work for them but it’s the way it has to be when you come into a new club.”
Monk gave 11 of his players an hour of Wednesday’s win at Tolka Park and fielded a different line-up for the last 30 minutes.
The United boss plans to reverse his line-up at Shamrock Rovers, giving 60 minutes to the side who finished the victory over Shelbourne.
Monk said: “That’s the way I’ve planned it. You saw one team play 60 and another play 30 and what we’ll do is flip it round so everyone gets the right minutes.
“I think it’s right for the first couple of games but we’ll look at it differently as the other games come along. We’ve had one game but things move quickly.”