LEEDS UNITED head coach Garry Monk says there will be no “maverick” approach to tomorrow’s must-win clash with Norwich City – a ploy which could do “more damage than you think.”
Having looked destined for a top-six finish, United approach tomorrow’s crucial clash at Elland Road sat seventh and three points off the Championship play-off places with just two games left.
With sixth-placed Fulham having a far superior goal difference to Leeds, United will need at least four points from the clash with Norwich and next Sunday’s trip to second-bottom Wigan Athletic to stand any hope of extending their season – even if Fulham lose their last two games.
The in-form Cottagers welcome ninth-placed Brentford tomorrow knowing a victory would effectively seal their top-six berth with one game to go.
Fifth-placed Sheffield Wednesday – who are five points ahead of Leeds – visit 16th-placed Ipswich Town knowing an away win would definitely seal their play-off spot while fourth-placed Reading need just a point from tomorrow’s hosting of Wigan or next Sunday’s trip to 18th-placed Burton Albion.
Leeds are at least helped by Wednesday and Fulham playing each other on the final day at Hillsborough but United are playing catch up having been eight points clear of the teams outside of the play-off places earlier this spring.
Two wins from their last two games now look a must – but Monk says he will be reluctant to dramatically change his usual approach against the eighth-placed Canaries.
Leeds have won 15 of their last 19 league games at Elland Road but enter this weekend’s fixture following back-to-back losses, with a 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Easter Monday preceded by last Saturday’s crushing 2-1 defeat at Burton Albion. Monk reasoned: “There’s a lot of times where whenever you lose a game, a lot of people talk about changes and how you need to do this and you need to do that.
“I think the bigger picture is that what we have done this season has allowed the team to have consistency and understanding. Consistency in our performances and consistency in what we need to do with and without the ball.
“I think just to throw that out the window and then go for some maverick thing because we have to win the game can sometimes cause more damage then you would think.
If we are not quite at the standard it’s nothing to do with the tactics, nothing to do with the way we set up, it’s to do with the level of performance.Leeds United boss, Garry Monk
“Different managers approach it in different ways but my thinking is always what’s put them in this position is an understanding of what’s been asked of them and really it’s only ever a case this season of them delivering it at a high standard.
“When we deliver it at a high standard we beat anyone but if we are not quite at the standard it’s nothing to do with the tactics, nothing to do with the way we set up, it’s to do with the level of performance.
“To go and change everything drastically just because you have to win a game, I think sometimes causes a lot more damage.
“There’s obviously tactical tweaks that you make in certain games but I think keeping the same message and putting in the hard work is what gains trust from the players.
“I don’t see any reason why we would change it but of course it’s about delivering that at the highest level. If we do that, we know we are capable of winning games.”