By support

13th Jan, 2017 | 10:26pm

Monk delivers verdict on breathtaking Leeds win and makeshift defence v Derby

By Emma Sanders

Garry Monk admitted he was “extremely proud” of his players and that their performance was “breathtaking” following Leeds 1-0 victory against Derby in the Championship on Friday evening.

He was also happy about the fifth clean sheet in a row at Elland Road, despite a number of forced changes in defence, which has seen their home ground turned into a fortress.

Leeds produced a sensational display to sweep past Steve McClaren’s side as the two teams went head-to-head in the league fixture at Elland Road.

Chris Wood scored his 14th goal of the Championship campaign to give his side a much-deserved lead in the first-half and Leeds continued to dominate after the break.

They should have scored several more in the opening 45 minutes, with Kyle Bartley coming close on a number of occasions from set-pieces but the centre-back was unable to find the back of the net.

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However, Monk was delighted with his team’s performance and praised the Leeds stars who came into the side following a few forced changes.

“I’m extremely proud of the players. That first 45 minutes was breathtaking at times. We had them by the throat and we should have scored a few more goals but our performance was great,” Monk told Sky Sports.

“Clean sheets are a foundation to build on. You have to have a solid base. With the changes we had to make it’s obvious that everyone knows their roles and what’s expected of them.

“It doesn’t always work like that but to be able to come in with the changes and for them to perform at that level is encouraging.”

Asked about the team’s eight-point cushion in the play-off spots, Monk was keen to deflect the pressure from his players.

“We’re moving in the right direction, enjoying our football, trying to play our own style. That’s all we have to focus on, let everyone else talk.”

Leeds’ key centre-back Pontus Jansson was forced to miss the clash after he picked up his 10th yellow card of the season during the 2-1 victory against Cambridge on Monday evening.

Charlie Taylor was also absent after he failed to recover from an achilles injury and Liam Cooper missed the clash after picking up a knock in the FA Cup tie earlier this week.

As well as the three absences in defence, Monk was without Hadi Sacko in attack too but his side were not effected by the missing stars and they produced one of the best performances of the season.

In other Leeds news, these were the three things we learned from the victory over Derby.

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