Sheffield Wednesday: This is the process Garry Monk hopes to keep working towards ahead of 'tough' Leeds clash
Having proved that his side can do it on a cold Tuesday night against Stoke, Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk promised much more to come from his side ahead of the visit of Leeds on Saturday.
The 40-year-old praised his side’s attitude in the war of attrition against the Potters and suggested fluency will follow that fighting spirit, describing his continuing success at the club as ‘a process’.
First on the to-do-list was to shore up the defence, Monk maintained, and they have done that having conceded only four goals in his seven league games in charge. Not far behind was building a fearsome fortress at Hillsborough, one that is growing brick-by-brick as his unbeaten start at home rolls on.
Their last two home games have delivered gritty 1-0 wins and asked how important it is to continue that ‘hard to beat’ reputation at Hillsborough, Monk admitted it was one of the first things he spoke to his players about when joining the club two months ago.
“It's one of our aims,” he said. “It’s a target for us. I said that as soon as I came in here.
“We want to give more as well and we know that we can. Slowly but surely we can build that, but you build that with wins, with clean sheets. That's two in the last two we've done that.
“I think we've done very well [at home]. It's been three games in terms of the league for myself here and we've got two wins and a draw. Saturday will be very difficult but the determination is to make this a fortress for us.”
A stern challenge to that unbeaten home record Leeds will certainly provide. Marcelo Bielsa’s men remain one of the favourites for automatic promotion this season and despite notable stumbles have sat among the pace-setters in a crowded field so far.
But they will come up against a Wednesday outfit that has shown a resilience and know-how missing from their previous campaigns, proudly boasting an ability to ‘win ugly’ while Monk attempts to pave the way forward.
He admitted the past week’s second-half performances against Cardiff and Stoke left plenty to be desired, but took solace in his side’s hard-working and battling attitude.
“They're the foundations of everything,” he said after the Stoke win. “We've had two games that are carbon copies and you need that in those moments. We all want to play brilliantly and dominate the ball and have chance after chance, but the Championship isn't about that.
“What you need when it doesn't go for you is that mentality to go with it, not only the organisation but the mentality to do it right. We've shown it in both games and we're very unlucky not to be sat here with six points this week so far.
“What we have shown over all is what a team should show in the Championship. That's what is pleasing for me.”
Wednesday are yet to beat a side in the top half of the league this year, but Monk is confident of a performance against his former club after accruing four points in the past week.
He said on the challenge ahead: “It's great, brilliant. What a tough week we've had and we want to try and finish it well.
“Leeds were fantastic last season and were unlucky to miss out as they did. I've said it many times, I'm proud of the work I did there. I enjoyed my time there but the focus is on trying to win.
“It's a tough game but is one we can really look forward to. We need all our fans behind us here, it's going to be a big atmosphere and they'll bring a lot of fans as well, it's going to be a fantastic atmosphere. It's a game, it's three points and we want to try and finish the week positively.”