Will Garry Monk turn Leeds United into promotion contenders?
Leeds United proved too good for a struggling Cardiff side on Saturday afternoon, taking the three points to make it two consecutive league wins, after beating Blackburn in midweek.
The win has caused unprecedented scenes of optimism to strike across West Yorkshire with some fans now suggesting an unbeaten run could even stretch as far as a third or fourth game. With a cup game against Blackburn and a return to league action at the weekend against Ipswich, those expectations may well be achievable for the improving outfit.
Garry Monk proved to be a master of timing, taking two wins at a time when questions had been raised about his suitability for the job and the strength of his squad.
A week in football can often make a vast difference, a fact highlighted in the last seven days Leeds have experienced.
Most fans would agree that the Yorkshire outfit have been underperforming somewhat after an inconsistent start to the season. What is more evident is the stability Monk has brought to the club and after witnessing the biggest recruitment drive in recent years, he should be afforded the opportunity to get the best out of his players.
Suggestions that Monk may not be good enough at this level were laughable but no less than Leeds fans are used to. Some sections of the media have tried to fan the flames as they continued to speculate about the head coach and his future at the club. Indeed many a fantasist began suggesting Leeds may be in for a relegation battle and in some circles, hysteria had started to build about his successor after Steve ‘Dutch’ McLaren was spotted in the crowd during the Blackburn game.
Massimo Cellino and his decision making have been contentious throughout his ownership, but the possibility of Steve McLaren as a potential successor would surely to be too much even for the Italian.
Talk of a potential successor seem a little premature, even when Cellino is your boss, but had poor results on the field continued, even the most optimistic of Leeds fans would have started to question how long Massimo would wait before wielding the axe again.
Football is, after all, a results business and whenever the results go against Leeds, there will be pressure and speculation about the next lamb to the slaughter.
In the last two games against Blackburn and Cardiff, Leeds have displayed more confidence in their play. In the defeat of Cardiff, in particular, they displayed a clinical edge.
After defending for long periods of the game, Leeds finally made the breakthrough in the second half. A penalty award for shirt pulling and attempted headlock on Pontus Jansson was the right decision and Chris Wood slotted the ball away from the spot to continue his steady goal scoring this season.
Leeds appear to be more stable than almost any point since their relegation from the Premier League. Giving Monk time will instil confidence in the players as Monk aims to galvanise his young squad into a force capable of reaching the upper echelons of an increasingly competitive division.
Having played a central role in building a squad it would make sense to allow the opportunity to work with those players. If anyone is likely to get the best out of this current squad of players it is Monk.
In Monk, the club seems to be in very capable hands. A one year contract is hardly a huge commitment, but at the very least the young coach should be afforded the respect and opportunity to see that contract through. If he proves a success at Leeds, Cellino may even do the unthinkable and negotiate a new contract for a second year.
That may be nothing more than a dream at this stage, but belief within the squad is growing and the fan base continues to get louder in their support for the head coach. Cellino wants results and it seems there is no man better than Monk to achieve them.
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