GARRY MONK praised a “step in the right direction” and said transfers remained high on the agenda after Leeds United earned a 2-1 win from their first pre-season friendly at Shelbourne.
United’s head coach voiced satisfaction with periods of a confident display at Tolka Park last night as his players emerged from a fortnight of training to see off their Irish opponents.
Two goals inside 14 minutes from Souleymane Doukara and new signing Hadi Sacko turned the game Leeds’ way and Shelbourne were unable to add to a second-half strike from Adam Evans.
A young United squad featured several Under-21s and injuries to Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi forced Monk to employ midfielders Toumani Diagouraga and Luke Murphy at centre-back in the absence of recognised cover. Leeds, who brought in Kyle Bartley on loan from Swansea City two-and-a-half weeks ago, are planning to recruit another centre-back having pulled out of a deal for former Watford player Joel Ekstrand last week on account of the Swede’s injury record.
A satisfied Monk said he was confident of adding to his six signings so far and insisted the display in Dublin had shown signs of progression.
“I’m happy with certain elements,” Monk said. “Quite naturally there’s a little bit of rustiness at this stage but it’s the first game and their first minutes on the pitch.
“It’s a good result but it wasn’t really the result I was looking at. There were good periods of the game where I saw things that I liked and there are other bits that we need to improve on.
“Of course we need to get better but we will do for sure. We just have to fine tune things as games come along but some of what I saw I was pleased with.
“The club understands that we need to strengthen the squad but we’re confident that we’ll get to the right place.”
Asked if a centre-back was a priority, Monk said: “That was affected a little bit by Liam and Berra being out but we’re looking at all areas, at the squad completely. I’ve made it very clear what I think and what areas we need to strengthen and the club are working hard behind the scenes.
“It’s a process and every manager would like to have everything sort on the day they turn up but it doesn’t work like that. You have to work with the club, within the constraints, and find a way to bring in the players you need.”
Last night’s game in Dublin was Monk’s first as United’s head coach and his first since Swansea City sacked him as manager last December.
“It was good for me to be back in that match environment,” he said. “I’ve not had it for a few months. We took a step in the right direction tonight.”