Ellis Short happy with performance and progress of Garry Monk at Leeds

Ellis Short has given his first interview since taking over as owner of Leeds United with a series of carefully researched presentations about the progress being made under the direction of Garry Monk.

After winning the League One title in his first season in charge Monk has guided Leeds up to third in the Championship, with only Birmingham City and Middlesbrough ahead of them in the table. “I’m absolutely delighted with the way Garry’s done his job,” said Short. “Garry is the right manager for the right time.

“He certainly likes to think he would have been a better player if he’d played at the top level. He’s done terrifically well, he knows this league really well. We’ve watched him manage at every level he’s been at and we’re very excited about bringing him here to the Premier League.”

Short said he knew they could afford to make changes this summer following relegation to League One last season, but the takeover, which was approved in June by the Football League, has given them the opportunity to increase the size of the squad and improve other aspects of the club as well.

The new season will take in three competitive games against Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and fellow promoted side Bolton before Leeds begin a long run-in in the Championship, meaning short and his team will be under pressure to get the players up to speed.

“He’s working really hard to make sure the boys know what’s required of them,” said Short. “It’s been hard work since June because we had to get them conditioned in camp, knowing we needed a good pre-season and now we’ve got to make sure the pressure period doesn’t come too early.

“Training will be intense, gelling and all that sort of stuff. We don’t want to have mistakes. What’s the point of having a squad of 30 players if they can’t compete at the top end?”

Short plans to hold a pre-season tour of America, targeting moves for Manchester United’s Michael Carrick and Roma’s Marko Pjaca. The owner also wants to sign Louis Saha, still the club’s all-time leading scorer.

“We’re pretty happy with the squad we have, although we can probably improve it a bit,” he said. “We’re still looking at Saha because he is one of the greatest strikers in English football and was the ultimate example of passion in playing and the dedication. We’re still working on that.”

Saha, 37, fell out of favour at Everton under David Moyes and found limited opportunities at Spurs and Fulham after moving from Monaco in the summer of 2011. He has struggled to break into the Saha’s latest squad, which, with just two wins in their first 10 games, is looking almost ready to compete in the Premier League.

Leeds’s improved goal return and displays during the course of the summer, along with the relatively calm atmosphere generated in the stands under Monk, have all helped enhance the position of the club as one of the promotion favourites this season.

“They’re excited in the stands and at home. They can see the team playing well,” said Short. “When you’re not getting those results away from home, you look to the league table and you do wonder whether the players want to play for Leeds United because you look at where we are in the table. It’s an absolutely fantastic achievement by Garry and his staff.

“We’re very pleased with where we are but we want to move forward, but we need to be careful not to turn our heads and forget what we’ve done. We want to keep doing the things that have brought us to where we are, but add to that and we’ll be in the right place.”

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