By Wayne Veysey

27th Apr, 2017 | 12:21pm

Monk makes big admission: This was Leeds objective at the start of the season

By Harry Sykes

Garry Monk has claimed that it was “never” the pre-season objective of Leeds United to reach the play-offs in this campaign.

Monk made the revelation on Thursday as he delivered his assessment on a season that exceeded expectations but is likely to end in promotion heartache.

Leeds have challenged strongly for a top-six finish and have been in the top four for months but a recent spell of wretched results, coupled with the renaissance of Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday, has left United with an uphill task to secure a play-offs spot.

Monk has admitted the mood in the dressing room was one of “disappointment” and “hurt” after last weekend’s 2-1 Championship defeat at Burton Albion left Leeds needing other results to go their way to reach the end of season play-offs.

Speaking on Thursday at his weekly media briefing, the manager explained that he had not been set the target of a top-six finish when he was appointed last summer.

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“It was never our objective to make play offs. It was about playing better & putting structures in place,” Monk said, as quoted by the Twitter account of BBC Leeds correspondent Adam Pope.

“Whatever happens its impossible to say anything has been a failure. The objective was to connect Leeds together. That’s our hallmark.”

There is a clear sense at Elland Road this season that Monk has succeeded in uniting supporters and players after years of discontent at the club marked by managerial sackings and upheaval behind the scenes.

The club had finished between 13th and 15th in the Championship in each of the previous five seasons before the 38-year-old took the dugout reins.

Leeds now are preparing for their final scheduled home match of the season on Saturday when they host Norwich at Elland Road.

Monk then takes his sign to relegation-threatened Wigan for their last fixture of the campaign eight days later.

For the first time this season, Leeds’ play-off hopes are out of their hands and they are left relying on top-six rivals Fulham, Sheffield Wednesday and Reading to drop points.

In other Leeds United news, it can be exclusively revealed that the club registered a new signing last month.

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