Whites dance to Monk’s tune

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Colin Hen­rys

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.”

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