Leeds United v Barnsley: '˜We respect Barnsley but all our focus has to be on us' - Garry Monk
LEEDS United's head coach Garry Monk has not been unduly surprised by how well Barnsley have done on their return to the Championship.
Promotion last May via the play-offs for Paul Heckingbottom’s side has been followed by five victories from the opening 10 fixtures of the new campaign.
As recently as a week ago, Barnsley occupied a play-off place and their battling qualities were underlined in midweek when Sam Winnall rescued a point at home to Aston Villa with a dramatic equaliser in stoppage-time.
“I have seen it happen quite a lot with newly promoted teams,” said Monk when asked about the Reds’ return to the second tier after a two-year absence.
“They come off the back of a campaign when they have been used to winning. They take that mentality and confidence into the new season.
“It is quite normal. We will have to be very good in terms of our performances. It is a local derby as well.
“We want to get the disappointment of Tuesday night out of us with a really positive performance. We respect Barnsley, but all our focus has to be on us.
“All through September, we proved that when we focused that way that we can get the results.”
After a difficult start that yielded just four points from a possible 15 and left Leeds sitting fourth bottom during the last international break, victory today is likely to nudge Monk’s men back into the top half of the table and leave the mood very different from five weeks ago when a 3-1 loss at Nottingham Forest left Monk under pressure.
“I have got a really good group of young players,” added the Elland Road chief.
“You can see the potential and that is a joy for us as coaches. Our challenge is to improve them every day. It is a long process.”