Rare pa­tience at El­land Road prov­ing a virtue

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Syd Phillips

BOSS Garry Monk was thought to be on bor­rowed time at Leeds United with the club in the bot­tom four in Septem­ber.

Fast-for­ward three months and he is look­ing like the hottest man­age­rial prop­erty out­side of the Pre­mier League – praised to the hilt by former Eng­land and Liver­pool de­fender Jamie Car­ragher this week – and Thurs­day’s ad­ver­sary Steve Bruce de­scribes Monk’s Leeds team as the “best in years”.

It was no won­der then, that Bruce was the hap­pier of the two bosses to take away a point from the block­buster en­counter at Villa Park.

Pon­tus Jans­son’s 54th-minute header looked set to hand Leeds a de­served vic­tory that would have sent them into the top three.

But Liam Cooper was pe­nalised for hand­ball four min­utes from time and Villa’s Mr Re­li­able Jonathan Kod­jia made no mis­take from the penalty spot – his ninth goal of the sea­son re­lief for Bruce, who could not watch the spot-kick.

“I never do watch,” he said. “He [Kod­jia] missed the last one, so he showed a pair of balls to step up and stuck it away well.

“We stuck at it and we’ve got a point out of it. We might have nicked it and I think that might have been a bit un­fair. They’re the best Leeds team I’ve seen in a good few years.

“They’re con­fi­dent, they’re play­ing well and you could see that in abun­dance.”

With the trans­fer win­dow now open, the busi­ness done this month could well de­ter­mine whether ei­ther or in­deed both of th­ese teams can se­cure a top-six fin­ish.

Monk though, made all the right noises about his team’s per­for­mance at Villa Park and his as­ser­tion that any changes to his squad will be mi­nor ap­pear jus­ti­fied.

“Credit to my play­ers, their at­ti­tude and sheer will to try win was clear,” said Monk.

“The way they are go­ing about their work right now is pleas­ing. They’re grow­ing all the time and that’s some­thing to take from this game. “It shows how far we’ve come that we’re dis­ap­pointed not to win against a team that have a fan­tas­tic record at home. We take a point and a lot of con­fi­dence and pos­i­tives.

“We will have a big crowd sup­port­ing us against Rother­ham on Mon­day and, like al­ways, we want to put our best foot­ball on the pitch and fight for the three points as hard as we can.”

TONGUES WAG­GING: Jonathan Kod­jia equalises for As­ton Villa

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