KYLE BARTLEY believes the past 11 days have instilled genuine belief in Leeds United.
The Elland Road club have won three games in a row to turn round a season that was in danger of turning sour after a slow start.
Considering the speculation surrounding head coach Garry Monk’s future just a fortnight ago, United’s back-to-back league wins over Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City plus a safe passage into the League Cup fourth round have been timely.
“It has been massive for us, but we said before the wins that we were still confident,” said the defender. “We believed in the manager, the team and the strength of us but three points breeds confidence. You have seen that in the last couple of games. We are going out there now thinking we are going to win and not just hoping we are going to win.
“The manager is fantastic. I said when I first signed that he was one of the main reasons why I came to this club.
“I said in an interview last week that we have got one of, if not the best, managers in the Championship. He has remained calm through all the ups and downs.”
United’s upturn in fortunes will be put to the test tomorrow by an Ipswich Town side who Monk rates highly.
“The manager said it will be the toughest challenge of the season for us and I completely agree,” added Bartley. “Under Mick McCarthy they’ve always been very strong and they have a game plan.
“They will come here believing in their game plan so it is on us to implement our style.”
A big feature of Leeds’s improvement in form has been a defence that has looked much more solid, and particularly at set-pieces – an area that had become a problem for Monk’s men.
“I think you’ve got to give the credit to (assistant) Pep (Clotet),” said Bartley when asked about the backline. “He had a look at things, watched some videos and he changed our set-up slightly to give us a free man.
“With Pontus (Jansson), he is not marking anyone so his job is to go and attack the ball. He has done that very well and he has made us look a lot more solid.
“With the new laws coming in and defenders literally not able to touch the attacker, with the penalties that we have seen given, it is a lot more dangerous from set-pieces. Having a free man makes our jobs a lot easier.”