By Dominic Toner

Leeds defender Liam Cooper has revealed that manager Garry Monk focused on defending set-pieces in pre-season.

The ex-Swansea boss Monk took charge at Elland Road in the summer and has helped the Yorkshire club emerge as promotion candidates this season.

The Whites are currently fifth-placed in the Championship table and are occupying a play-off position.

Leeds have looked extremely resilient from set-pieces this campaign and it’s been a big part of their success.

Cooper has explained that Monk identified set-pieces during pre-season and focused on improving that area of their game.

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“You can see from the defending, we’ve conceded a lot less goals from set plays,” Cooper told BBC Radio Leeds. “It’s something the manager came in at the start of the season in pre-season and he wanted us to stop conceding so many goals.”

The Championship is well known for its physicality and the Leeds defence have been up for the task this season so far.

Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley have a firm grip on Leeds’ centre-back positions, but Cooper has proved to be a strong replacement in their absences.

Cooper, 25, has had to bide his team this season and has made 12 appearances across all competitions.

The centre-back gives Monk’s side a great aerial presence when he plays and has featured seven times in the Championship.

Leeds travel to Preston on Boxing Day for their next league match and will be hoping to cement their position in the play-off positions.

In other Leeds news, a Sky Sports pundit has predicted the club’s upcoming match against Preston.