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Monk’s squad have not suffered back-to-back defeats since losing to Forest and Huddersfield Town either side of the season’s first international break in August and September and a victory tonight would move Leeds back to third in the table.
Monk admitted he understood close scrutiny of the performance of his team at Oakwell, where three quick goals either side of half-time allowed Barnsley to claim a 3-2 win. United’s head coach said the result “doesn’t sit well with us” but called for perspective with Leeds still in control of a play-off position.
“We had a disappointment at the weekend and that doesn’t sit well with us,” Monk said. “We spoke about it in pre-season and one of the things we discussed was bouncing back from defeat or a negative result.
“We’ve managed to do that already this season, apart from once which was very early on. Any time since then when we’ve lost a game we’ve bounced back in the next performance. That’s vitally important. This is one of those situations where we have to show what a good team we are.
“Because we’ve been performing at such a high level, anything below it seems indifferent. People think ‘is there something wrong, what happened there?’ That’s just because of the level of performance we’ve been getting. When it doesn’t happen there can be frustration and disappointment but no-one feels that more than the players, myself and my staff.
“Football doesn’t always allow you to have it your own way. Negatives do come along but we’ve been doing very well and improving all the time. These situations are where you get a test of character and a test of mentality. We’ve been very strong with that.”