Elland Road regular Kevin Markey is sure Garry Monk and his men can bounce back with three wins to seal a top-six finish
GARRY MONK was appointed Leeds United boss in June 2016 and had little time to get his feet under the table, never mind prepare a squad for the upcoming season.
Despite just four points from the first six league games, Monk managed to keep Il mangia-allenatori (‘the manager-eater’) owner Massimo Cellino at arm’s length and everything started to blossom at LS11 as the Whites rose towards the play-off positions.
After a patchy 2-1 win at Rotherham the team managed to keep in the top six until the 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves over the Easter period where they now lie in seventh on goal difference with three games to go in the regular season.
Keep up to date with ALL the CHAMPIONSHIP gossip and transfers on our club page plus fixtures, results and live match commentary
But Leeds’ bid to rejoin the Premier League elite 13 years on from relegation is under serious threat in the aftermath of Wolves’ victory.
It was a bad time play one of their worst games of their home campaign.
Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham took full advantage by beating QPR and Aston Villa respectively climbing above the Whites in the process.
A poor run of just two wins from their last eight games ended a four-month tenure in the Championship play-off positions.
Monk admits his team face the “biggest three games of our lives” – with Burton, Norwich and Wigan the teams Leeds must beat to have a real chance of being at Wembley come May.
If they do they will be in the top six as Wednesday and Fulham play each other at Hillsborough on the final weekend.
Monk’s squad have been on course for a top-six finish since before Christmas, maintaining a place in the play-offs for 25 consecutive matches.
“Here we go,” said Monk, whose side head to Burton Albion on Saturday.
“This is the interesting part. We’ve spent so long in there with a points advantage and now we don’t have that.
“We don’t have that luxury any more. Now we must go on the hunt and sometimes it’s easier with less pressure on you when you’re on the hunt.
“When you’re in (the top six) it’s maybe a different pressure but we’ve got to take care of our own business and these are the three biggest games of our lives. We must approach them in that way. “
Monk insisted he was confident that his players would cope with the mounting pressure.
It’s the sort of pressure Monk has dealt with since that day in June. Nobody expected a play-off push this year.
The fans had been used to their teams jostling for mid-table mediocrity for so long.
But if a side needs to win three games in a row to finish in the top six then it’s a Garry Monk side.
It certainly should not be beyond the capabilities of a club of Leeds’ stature.
With the help of Monk’s aides Pep Clotet and James Beattie the mentality has changed at Elland Road.
Do not be surprised if the sleeping giant is still awake come that Bank Holiday at the end of May.
For all the latest Leeds United news, follow @LeedsUnited_MAD on Twitter, and the Leeds United MAD page on Facebook.