The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Gwilym

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.”

PIC­TURE: Pro Sports

ALL OVER: Pablo Her­nan­dez scores Leeds’ sec­ond goal STAR MAN PABLO HER­NAN­DEZ Leeds

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