By Alex Stevens
Pep Clotet has paid tribute to the “superb” way Garry Monk handled a tough start to life at Leeds.
The manager steered the Yorkshire giants to a third straight win on Tuesday night as they knocked Blackburn out of the League Cup.
Monk, who was installed as Massimo Cellino’s latest manager in the summer, faced questions over his future just six league games into his tenure after a 1-0 home defeat by Huddersfield left Leeds in the Championship bottom three.
But two victories over Blackburn either side of a 2-0 win at Cardiff have kick-started Leeds’ season and eased the pressure on the manager from the trigger-happy owner Cellino.
Substitute Chris Wood’s late strike booked United’s place in the fourth round and Clotet credited Monk for the turnaround in the team’s performances.
“I’ve worked a lot with Garry and I’m always very impressed with the way he handles difficult moments,” said Clotet, who was also Monk’s right-hand man at Swansea, as quoted by the BT Sport website.
“He always keeps cool, keeps believing in his way and keeps empowering everyone to drive forward. He never adds pressure; he takes the pressure away.
“He’s been superb. He’s a very good, young English manager with a bright future – and now a bright future for Leeds.
“I think he’s managed these last few weeks perfectly and he got us through that period very well with a lot of passion for the club.”
The clash against Blackburn was witnessed by Elland Road’s lowest crowd since 2009 – 8,488 – but Leeds can now look forward to Wednesday night’s fourth round draw and will also approach Saturday’s home Championship clash with Ipswich Town with momentum.
In other Leeds news, Monk’s latest squad selection could spell the end of the careers of three players.