LEEDS UNITED ended their pre-season campaign with a fine 2-1 win over Serie A side Atalanta... and a promise from manager Garry Monk that there is more to come from his side.
Monk, while pleased to go into next week’s opening game of the Championship season with a victory behind him, knows there is a long way to go before he has the side playing the kind of style he expects from his teams.
The new Elland Road manager believes his side will draw on the confidence gained from beating Atalanta, goals from Chris Wood and Kemar Roofe securing the victory, as they prepare to face QPR on the opening weekend. However, he made it clear there was plenty of hard work still to be done before their trip to Loftus Road.
It is not unusual for Leeds fans to enter the new season with a touch of optimism, they have seen many a new dawn break over Elland Road with new managers coming and ultimately going again in recent years.
Monk’s arrival has seemingly given the club, fans and players a welcome much-needed boost. While off-field confusion continues with regard a possible take-over and whether Massimo Cellino really is ready to finally sell, the new manager has quietly set about re-building his squad... and there could yet be more new faces arriving this week.
“It’s always good to end your pre-season with a victory,” he said. “You take that confidence into next week’s training and you take that into the game. But we know that the real work starts now. I’ve been happy with pre-season. I think we have been working in a good way.
“We still need more to do, there’s a lot more improvement that we need to do as a team but in terms of pre-season and where they are, having worked with them for just five weeks I think they have been working in a good way. We are looking forward to the season.”
And the promise of some new players?
Monk refused to be drawn on individual targets but was asked in which areas he would like to strengthen and replied: “As a manager I could probably tell you that there are always positions that you would love to strengthen.
“But we have identified them and I am sure you will see it in the coming days. You will see the positions that we are trying to look for and then we go from there. But I don’t talk about players. We keep that in house. We keep our business respectful.”
So will the new players arrive in time for QPR on Sunday?
“Of course. We are working in a good way and I have said before, I keep saying it, there’s many facets to a deal that you need to consider. It’s not always from the side of the club that will want a player,” he said. “Every manager would tell you they would love to have every single player by the first day of the season but it’s until that transfer window is closed. If we can do the business this week that we want to do it would be great.
“But of course we are confident, I am very confident that we will have the squad when that window is closed and hopefully it is within a shorter period. When that window is closed we have to be ready and we have to be confident that we have the squad that is ready for a long old season.
“We do need to strengthen the squad but we know that. I’m sure that come the close of the transfer window we will have the squad that we are happy with and that will be ready to compete this season in this league.”