Garry Monk put old pals’ act aside to dump Alex Neil’s Norwich City out of the EFL Cup
Leeds' chief Garry Monk put sentiment to one side to dump his former Barnsley team-mate Alex Neil out of the EFL Cup.
The Whites overcame a numerical disadvantage due to injury, that forced them to play the whole of extra-time with 10 men, to knock the Canaries out 3-2 on penalties after the sides were locked together following a pulsating 120 minutes.
Monk revealed afterwards he was unable to watch the dramatic penalty shoot-out at a raucous Elland Road.
'I got told our goalkeeper had made three very good saves but it's hard to single out one player after a night like that,' he said. 'The boys practise penalties regularly and the five that went up were the ones who looked the most confident. We have great trust in these players. I'm immensely proud. It was incredible – an incredible atmosphere and unbelievable character from a very young group. They really deserved that.
'It was a proper English cup tie and it had everything. We came through adversity with real determination and good football.'
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Neil had publicly backed Monk in the build-up, making it clear he felt the former Swansea boss was harshly treated after being dismissed last season.
'I have got big respect for Alex,' he said. 'I think he does a fantastic job there and he came in under circumstances where people asked questions when he first went in there and whether he had the experience - similar to myself when I took over at Swansea. And he proved a lot of people wrong and he still is.
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'For me, they are up there with Newcastle but for me they are one of those two teams who will be favourites for the league but I also think they are favourites for automatic promotion - I think they are that good a squad and they have got that good a team. '