Leeds United 2 Atalanta 1: Monk hints at new arrivals in “coming days”

Garry Monk.
Garry Monk.
Have your say

HEAD coach Garry Monk said the identity of some of Leeds United’s remaining transfer targets would be revealed “in the next few days” after watching his side grind out victory against Atalanta at Elland Road.

A first half penalty from Chris Wood followed by a second half strike from Kemar Roofe sealed a 2-1 victory in the club’s final pre-season friendly, which fell eight days short of next Sunday’s Championship opener at Queen’s Park Rangers.

Chris Wood is Congratulated after scoring his goal.

Chris Wood is Congratulated after scoring his goal.

And Monk admitted afterwards that there was still a need to further strengthen the squad at Leeds, with the head coach hopeful of further new arrivals before Sunday’s trip to Loftus Road.

Leeds continue to be linked with a move for Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt who excelled last season on loan at Elland Road while suggestions emerged on Saturday evening that United are also looking at former Swansea City winger Pablo Hernández who is currently with Qatari side Al-Arabi.

Monk refused to be drawn on individual targets but was asked in which areas he would like to strengthen and replied: “There will be always be positions and as a manager I could probably tell you that there’s always positions that you would love to strengthen.

“But we have identified them and I am sure you will see it in the coming days. You will see the positions that we are trying to look for and then we go from there.

“But I don’t talk about players. We keep that in house. We keep our business respectful.”

Asked if he was hopeful of landing new additions in this next week, Monk said: “Of course. We are working in a good way and I have said before, I keep saying it, there’s many facets to a deal that you need to consider. It’s not always from the side of the club that will want a player.

“Every manager would tell you they would love to have every single player by the first day of the season but it’s until that transfer window is closed. If we can do the business this week that we want to do it would be great.

“But of course we are confident, I am very confident that we will have the squad when that window is closed and hopefully it is within a shorter period.

“When that window is closed we have to be ready and we have to be confident that we have the squad that is ready for a long old season.

“I have spoke to the club. I work in a good way with them, they understand our views on everything and I understand theirs as well so we are working together to bring these players that we might need to strengthen the squad. We do need to strengthen the squad but we know that.

“It’s a case of working together and trying to make sure it happens but I’m sure that come the close of the transfer window we will have the squad that we are happy with and that will be ready to compete this season in this league.”

United were given a stern test by Atalanta in Saturday’s friendly, with the Italian side plying their trade in Serie A in which they finished 13th last season.

Monk was pleased with his side’s attitude to grind out a victory but said United’s best was yet to come.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t think we were at our very best with the ball today,” said Monk.

“I think we can be a lot better which is something that we spoke about afterwards, we spoke about at half time and I think that will come. There won’t be any problem with that.

“I wouldn’t ask them to do anything that I didn’t want to do and I think we could have been a little bit better with the ball.

“But when you can’t be at your best with the ball you have to be very good defensively and I thought we were excellent.

“I thought we limited a very talented side, a top European side or a top league European side to very few chances and I think that was down to our work that we have been doing through pre-season and I also think set piece wise we looked very dangerous. A lot of that stuff we have been working on through pre-season as well.

“In a game, you have be able to win it.

“If you can’t win it the way you want to which is with really crisp football which we couldn’t quite get going then you can win it in other ways and that’s something that these young players we have been working on with them to learn - finding a way to win a game and it was very pleasing.

“It’s always good to end your pre-season with a victory. You take that confidence into next week’s training and you take that into the game.

“But we know that the real work starts now. I’ve been happy with pre-season. I think we have been working in a good way.

“We still need more to do, there’s a lot more improvement that we need to do as a team but in terms of pre-season and where they are, having worked with them for just five weeks I think they have been working in a good way. We are looking forward to the season.”