The vultures began circling high above Elland Road earlier this month, after reports emerged that Massimo Cellino was thinking about casting Garry Monk onto his growing pile of managerial casualties, just six games into the Championship season. Two successive wins since then have put those reports to bed for the time being, but the enigmatic Leeds owner is hardly the predictable type, so Monk will be constantly looking over his shoulder, for however long he is in the Elland Road hot seat.
Last weekend’s win over Cardiff was Leeds’ most impressive performance of the seasons so far, providing a great platform from which they can start to build some serious momentum and continue their climb up the play-off places. Although Chris Wood and Pablo Hernandez will hog the headlines, after scoring both the Leeds goals, it was a superb defensive display that laid the foundations for that victory. This new-found stability in the back line is testament to the good work Monk must be doing on the training ground and highlights the shrewd business he has done during his first transfer window.
A leaky defence has blighted Leeds for a number of seasons now, with eccentric goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and the unreliable Giuseppe Bellusci culpable for plenty of mistakes since Cellino himself brought them to the club in 2014. Monk acted quickly to rectify this, bringing in Kyle Bartley on loan from his former club Swansea, Luke Ayling from Bristol City and Pontus Jansson from Torino. All three of these defensive additions started the past two victories, with the unsettled but talented Charlie Taylor completing a very solid back four.
Veteran goalkeeper Robert Green has also come in during the summer and has taken the number one jersey from Silvestri. In a recent interview with BWIN, former United keeper Nigel Martin has praised Monk for bringing the former England goalkeeper to the club and highlighted some of the characteristics he will add to the squad.
“Robert is a great goalkeeper, he has bags of experience and he is possibly what is going to be needed over what could be a long tough season. You don’t put on an England jersey very easily so he certainly has the credentials.”
Martin also spoke of his reaction to Monks appointment and what he thought the new manager would bring to the job.
“I think it was a great appointment. He is bright, fresh and coming straight out of the Premier League, where he has been used to managing players of the highest quality.”
There is very little doubting that Garry Monk is one of the most talented young British managers in the game at the moment. Hopefully he will be afforded time to implement his style and tactics, but if the last two games are anything to go by, the future is looking bright for Monk and his Leeds United side.