Garry Monk said he was prepared for more errors from his team and called again for patience for a developing group of players as Leeds United licked their wounds from a galling draw with Wigan Athletic.
Monk reacted to a late concession against Wigan by saying his side were “going to make mistakes along the way” and attempting to manage expectation of them after Leeds shipped an injury-time goal at Elland Road on Tuesday.
United were moments away from moving to within one point of the Championship’s top six when midfielder Shaun MacDonald scored from close range after Monk’s players failed to clear a corner, earning Wigan a 1-1 draw.
Monk was critical of his side’s defending in that moment and rued their failure to put the game beyond Wigan earlier in the second half but he insisted that lessons learned from Tuesday would show in Leeds’ development.
The club brought 11 new signings into Elland Road during the summer transfer window and a young squad on Tuesday contained nine players aged 24 or under.
Monk said: “What are we into the season? Two months I’ve had with this group. I know we had pre-season as well but the expectation – I want it to be now, I want it all now and I don’t want to waste time but I understand and realise what it takes for a squad to develop, for a way of playing to develop and for an understanding of how to win games in a better way.
“This group are getting there. They’re going to make mistakes along the way but we have to allow them to do that and grow. We have to.
“It doesn’t happen overnight and they have to come through these experiences to come out the other side. We have to understand that, which I do – as long as we learn from these mistakes.”
Monk was frustrated to see both of United’s recent matches against Wigan and Derby influenced by goals scored on the rebound from corners.
Johnny Russell’s 57th-minute strike at Pride Park earned Derby a 1-0 win while MacDonald also made the most of a loose ball at the death on Tuesday.
“Earlier in the season we were suffering from the first phase of set-pieces,” Monk said. “We’ve corrected that so we’re not happy at all because that’s two games now where the second phase has hurt us.
“It’s something we have to go back and work on. We don’t accept it and the players don’t accept it either. Right at the end, with three points in your hands, a set-piece like that is where you have to be most switched on and most aggressive, the most concentrated. We weren’t.”
Monk, however, was pleased to see summer signing, Kemar Roofe, show signs of improvement on his third league start.
Roofe, last season’s League Two player of the year, has been largely peripheral since Leeds signed him for £3m from Oxford United but he completed 90 minutes of the draw with Wigan and drew praise from Monk.
United’s head coach said: “I thought he did well. He was involved a lot and that will do him the world of good going forward. I was pleased with Kemar.”