MONK SENDS A MESSAGE TO MASSIMO
GARRY Monk feels his Leeds side are starting to hit their stride as they completed back-to-back wins for the first time this season to ease some of the pressure on the under-fire boss.
A Chris Wood penalty and Pablo Hernandez’s superb late finish helped the Yorkshire club secure a deserved victory and condemn Cardiff to a fourthstraight league defeat for the first time since 2007.
Monk had started the week being tipped to become the latest Elland Road boss to be given his marching orders by Massimo Cellino, but wins over Blackburn and the Bluebirds have indicated they are moving in the right direction.
In Hernandez, Leeds had the game’s stand-out performer but he was backed up by fine showings from Hadi Sacko and Pontus Jansson.
And Monk feels confident there is plenty more to come from his side.
“We have a new group, a new manager and new ideas,” he said. “We are taking it step by step, we are at the start of that journey and if we give this group time they can potentially grow into something very good.
“This was another step in the right direction. We are getting there slowly, we have not yet had that complete performance but we are growing.
“I see the commitment, attitude and work ethic is second to none. You can see the players enjoy it and enjoy being together.
“We really controlled the game, we sensed we were on top and put our personality on the pitch to cause Cardiff problems.”
If some of Leeds’ gloom has lifted then it has made its way over the Severn Bridge – but Paul Trollope is confident his side can manufacture their own watershed moment before long.
“The results are nowhere near acceptable, that’s my responsibility,” said Trollope. “I know that and it’s my responsibility to shape it and mould it and get the best out of people.
“I’m totally aware of that, but I also believe in how we work, that this will turn around for us.”
The first half was an even affair with both sides wasting fine chances. Sean Morrison found the post with a header from a Peter Whittingham corner, while another set-piece saw Aron Gunnarsson find the woodwork with a low volley.
Leeds, meanwhile, should have profited from two dreadful Cardiff lapses. Matt Connolly’s loose pass allowed Hernandez to force Ben Amos into a sharp save, while Wood shot straight at the keeper after Whittingham had been robbed in his own half.
But the visitors began to take control after the break and took the lead when Wood converted from the spot when Connolly was adjudged to have fouled Jansson as they tussled at a set-piece.
Such incidents have been clamped down on by officials this season and, while Monk agreed with the decision, Trollope felt similar misdemeanours at the other end had gone unpunished.
Cardiff pressed in search of an equaliser but were undone when Hernandez led a smart counter and curled a lovely strike beyond Amos into the top corner to keep the Bluebirds in the relegation zone.
“We’re hitting the post with good chances, we’re not quite finding the finishes we need,” added Trollope. “We are lacking a bit of anticipation when things are coming across the box, but we’ve got to keep working hard.”
ALL OVER: Pablo Hernandez scores Leeds’ second goal STAR MAN PABLO HERNANDEZ Leeds