NEW HEAD coach Garry Monk is ready to embrace the challenge of reaching the Premier League with Leeds United, insisting: “I’ve not come here to be mediocre.”
Former Swansea City manager Monk was unveiled as Steve Evans’s successor at Elland Road yesterday as the highly rated 37-year-old became the seventh managerial appointment of chairman Massimo Cellino’s two-and-a-half year tenure.
After signing a one-year rolling contract, Monk hailed an immediate “connection” with the Italian who has vowed to refund a proportion of season ticket costs should Leeds fail to reach the Championship play-offs.
Monk was touted as a future England manager during a record-breaking 2014-15 season at Swansea City before ultimately being sacked last December after a run of one win in 11 games.
And while United’s new head coach refused to make rash statements or bold predictions during his first ever Whites press conference, there was no hiding the former centre-back’s ambition.
“I’ve not come here to do the average or be mediocre,” declared Monk.
“It’s the ambition for the club to go forward which is what we all want which is the Premier League – that’s what we are here for and we can’t shy away from that. I’m an ambitious person myself so it went hand in hand.
“We want to achieve promotion to the Premier League and every club in this league will tell you the same but the club that we are and the plan that we need to put in place can hopefully achieve that.
“It’s not to add pressure to us, it’s to embrace it. We’re at a club where if we get it right and we make a few tweaks to certain areas then we can definitely achieve a good season. I haven’t been given a total ‘you have to achieve this’ but we all want to achieve that and that’s what I am here for.”
Monk has been linked with various jobs since being dismissed by Swansea, including the managerial posts at Aston Villa, Fulham and Bristol City.
“Being appointed the manager of Leeds United is a real big honour,” beamed Monk.
“I am very happy with that. It’s an amazing club with amazing fans and we all know the history in terms of where it stands in British football. And really that was the bit that got me thinking I would like to listen to all of what Leeds have got to say.”
Whites chairman Cellino then pulled off something of a coup in sealing the signature of the promising young manager who insisted he would have full autonomy of first-team affairs.
Asked if he would have the final say on first-team selection and first-team matters, Monk replied: “For sure. Having spoken to the owner, it wasn’t even a discussion. It wasn’t even part of the questioning or thought process.
“He made that very clear from the very start, that he’s never done that in the past and that he doesn’t have any intention of doing that in the future.
“He wants to work with me. I felt a really good connection straight away with him and everyone at this club in this short space of time.
“We will be working together, we will be on the same page with the same focus and we will stay focused on that.
“After speaking with the owner deeply about football and about the way he wants to take the club forward – his knowledge of football was very, very good and very extensive – it matched mine and it matched my ambition.
“I’m a young manager but I’m not a manager that wants to take the easy route, I want to have challenges put in front of me and big challenges. This is a big challenge but what a fantastic club to come and take that challenge on.”