Leeds United look for reaction on league and cup travels

Kalvin Phillips battles for the ball with Matt Richie during Leeds United's game against Newcastle.
Kalvin Phillips battles for the ball with Matt Richie during Leeds United's game against Newcastle.

With the international breaks over now for the winter months it is all systems go for Leeds United as they look to press on in their challenge on all fronts in the coming weeks.

The Whites are still involved in all three of their competitions and still talking positive despite suffering a 2-0 defeat to a clinical top of the table Newcastle side in front of 36,000 at Elland Road last Sunday.

The next home game, against Aston Villa, now looks set to attract another 30,000 plus crowd despite the 5.30pm kick-off on Saturday, December 3 and live coverage on Sky and there is still the feeling that good times could be just round the corner.

The fact that Garry Monk’s men were able to feel disappointed and aggrieved at their loss to the Geordies, who have now won eight games on the trot in the EFL Championship, showed how far they have come in recent weeks.

They certainly lived with the title favourites for much of the game, created more chances and forced 11 corners without any joy as the bounce of the ball and decisions of referee Graham Scott went against them.

“The defeat doesn’t change anything for us, we are still in a fantastic position in the league, we are competing in every game and the group will learn a lot from the game,” said head coach Monk.

“We understand that we are going to suffer some negatives along the way, but the important thing is that we show reactions.

“Good teams react straight away, we need to have a good week and show we are a good side by reacting next week, similarly to how we have done throughout the season – and we are determined to go and get a result.”

Before the next home match and big crowd a couple of contrasting away games face Leeds as they travel to South Yorkshire for a derby game at Rotherham this Saturday evening (5.30pm kick-off) then play their EFL Cup quarter-final at Premiership giants Liverpool next Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Both games are again on TV so there will be pressure to perform once more and Monk will be stressing to players the importance of turning up with the right attitude for the league game however less glamorous it may be than playing at Anfield a few days later.

After losing on their first two visits to the AESSEAL New York Stadium in the last two seasons no-one in the Whites camp should need reminding of their task at Rotherham even if the opponents are sitting bottom of the table.

Monk is likely to make use of his squad over the two games and will need to make at least one change with defender Pontus Jansson banned for one match after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the game with Newcastle.

He will be hoping to have Pablo Hernandez back after he missed last weekend’s game through injury while wide man Stuart Dallas is fit again and will add to team options.

In the cup Monk has been giving squad players a chance to shine, so goalkeeping hero from the last round Marco Silvestri can expect to play a part along with full-back Gaetano Berardi. It may also be smart to rest midfielder Ronaldo Vieira and left-back Charlie Taylor who are only one booking away from suspension ahead of the cut off at the end of the month.