Whites dance to Monk’s tune
AFOURTH consecutive Leeds win had the Elland Road faithful belting out their famous anthem, and boss Garry Monk insists it is by ‘marching on together’ the team will continue to improve.
Chris Wood’s fourth goal in four games was enough to beat Ipswich, in a game Monk felt Leeds could – and perhaps should – have won even more comfortably.
But the former Swansea manager believes the confidence is starting to flow at Elland Road, and hailed the change in his team’s mentality.
“The fans are understanding now what I’ve tried to say all the way through – we can only do this together,” he said.
“We’re not quite there – to the standard I’d like – yet, but we are getting better.
“We’re taking those steps from the training ground onto the pitch.
“It’s the challenge to the group to change their mentality from before. It’s been a long time since they had a run like this, so they need to understand what it takes to keep this run going.
“We work very hard on that in training and it was very pleasing – we executed our game plan really well.”
In-form Wood was inches away from firing Leeds ahead on ten minutes after bringing down a long ball and cutting inside, but his rising right-footed strike cannoned off the post.
At the other end, Grant Ward pounced on Kyle Bartley’s clearance on the quarter-hour, but his deflected shot trickled wide.
From the resultant corner, Christophe Berra met Tom Lawrence’s cross at the near post but his header was off target.
Wood scored the game’s only goal on 35 minutes, first keeping the ball alive with some good control and passing in the middle, before heading in Charlie Taylor’s hanging cross.
He nearly had another in firsthalf stoppage time, when Lawrence failed to clear from a corner, but the New Zealand international’s powerful shot was blocked by Berra.
Hadi Sacko and Pablo Hernandez caused plenty of problems for the Ipswich defence, and combined to play in Wood again on 55 minutes, but Bartosz Bialkowski came to the rescue.
Sacko then missed a great chance to double the lead on the hour, missing the target when one-on-one with Bialkowski after Wood’s initial shot was blocked.
Wood was in the thick of the action again on 84 minutes, bringing Bialkowski’s poor goalkick under control, but the striker’s low, long-range shot was weak and comfortably saved.
Freddie Sears had the chance to snatch an unlikely point with three minutes remaining, but he blazed his free-kick well over from 18 yards.
And frustrated Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy admitted that missed chance was reflective of his whole team’s performance.
“You have to give the opposition credit sometimes but we were poor with the ball,” he admitted. “Really poor.
“Even the free-kick at the end – we let them off the hook. You get one chance and we could have nicked a goal. Would it have been deserved? Would I have cared? You have to hit the target and that summed our performance up.
“Leeds deserved to win. They’ve got a good side, and some good players.I thought Chris Wood was outstanding. He was the focal point and the big difference – when they hit the ball up to him, it stuck.”