Garry Monk insisted that he would not prioritise Saturday’s Championship clash with Nottingham Forest over tonight’s League Cup tie away at Luton Town as he called on his players to turn August into a good month with two more victories.
Leeds United’s head coach said progression through the second round at Kenilworth Road this evening was as important to him as a result against Forest after a Yorkshire derby win at Sheffield Wednesday gave his side a sense of impetus for the first time.
Monk claimed his first league victory as Leeds boss at Hillsborough, negating a disappointing run of one point from a possible nine, and he demanded a strong finish to a hectic month with a two-week international break to come after the trip to Forest - Leeds’ seventh game in 20 days.
Asked if the visit to The City Ground was a more important fixture, Monk said: “We’ve had a lot of games and all these things you have to consider but I want to win games and I want to keep the momentum going. The players feel the same. That’s our job.
“We’ve got two games left that will dictate (if August has been a good month). I said before the game at Sheffield Wednesday that perception’s a big thing in football but it’s not a big thing for me. I’m more about the reality of what we’re doing.
“You’ve seen improvements in every game and it’s step by step. We’ll try and make sure that in these two games we put on really good performances.
“If we come away with the right results then of course that will lead into the international break.
“We realise how much work is needed between now and that international break.”
Monk’s maiden win as United’s head coach came in the first round of the League Cup at Fleetwood Town, a match which ended in a 5-4 victories on penalties.
Leeds required a last-minute equaliser to avoid defeat in a week when the majority of Yorkshire clubs and numerous Championship sides fell at the League Cup’s first hurdle.
Luton accounted for one of those second-tier teams, knocking out Aston Villa at Kenilworth Road, and the League Two outfit have made a promising start to their season.
“It’ll be a battle and we have to be ready for that,” said Monk. “But I think we showed that we were ready against Fleetwood. They made it a very physical game.
“Luton’s a difficult little ground, they’ll have a good atmosphere, a good backing, and they’ll be motivated by playing against a club from a higher league.
“They’ll want to try and get through the round so we have to be ready.
“We have to try and keep the momentum we’ve got.”
Monk, meanwhile, refused to indulge suggestions that Saturday’s impressive win over Sheffield Wednesday – last season’s losing play-off finalists – was an indicator of Leeds’ ability to challenge for the top six.
“It’s one step at a time,” he said. “Let’s focus on now, not on what’s happening in eight months’ time. We’re not the team we want to be yet. That’s very obvious and very simple but we do have a plan in place.
“I’m very focused on today and we’re not going to look any further. That’s the mentality we need. Let everyone else worry about that. We need to focus on the here and now.”
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