GARRY MONK believes apprehension contributed towards Leeds United’s tame defeat at QPR on Sunday - but vowed to banish any nerves and turn the Whites into a Championship force.
New head coach Monk’s first competitive game in charge went pear-shaped after just four minutes of Sunday’s season opener at Loftus Road as Nedum Onuoha took advantage of hesitant defending to give the Hoops an early 1-0 lead.
Monk’s men never recovered as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men went on to record a very one-sided 3-0 victory in which the damage could have been worse considering the Hoops twice hit the post.
The setback has plenty of Whites fans already fearing the worst but Monk is refusing to panic and insists the United faithful will see the right response in Wednesday night’s first round EFL Cup tie at Fleetwood Town, three days before the club’s first home league game against Birmingham City.
The 37-year-old admitted that a predominantly young United side looked apprehensive Sunday - but Monk says early nerves can soon be remedied and the head coach has lost no confidence about having a successful campaign.
Asked to put his finger on exactly what went wrong at Loftus Road on Sunday, Monk mused: “I think in the first half especially we were maybe a little bit apprehensive, a little bit too apprehensive.
“But that’s not an excuse. The apprehension is a contribution for sure but it’s for me to help the players to overcome that.
“It’s important that we do that very quickly and on Wednesday we are very determined to put on a performance that can kickstart our season.
“We were just as disappointed as the fans were with the game on Sunday.
“There was no-one in that changing room afterwards who was happy at all with what we did.
“But you have to understand that it’s a long journey that we’re on and we’re at the very start of it.
“Of course, we would have loved a better performance and result but one game isn’t going to define our whole season or how we’re going to be. We’re very determined to put that right and show what we’re capable of.”
Sunday’s setback means United have the misfortune of sitting bottom of the table on goal difference heading into Wednesday’s cup tie against a Fleetwood side managed by former Whites head coach Uwe Rosler.
Monk, though, has lost no faith in the long term prospects of United proving a genuine Championship force.
Asked how confident he was of heralding a successful season at Leeds, Monk replied: “I’m very confident. But there will be bumps in the road.
“That’s the nature of this league and the nature of football. What we’re striving for is to be consistent. There are lots of new ideas and learning to be done but we’re trying to do that quickly and get a reaction quickly. Once the fans see that and once the players take that apprehension away from themselves, you’ll see a really good team.
“I see it on a daily basis. I see it with their attitude and the quality they have. It’s now about making sure we take any apprehension out of them. Once they release themselves a little bit, you’ll see the performances of a really good team and really good players.
“You’ll see a team who can do very well in this league.”