Garry Monk hails Leeds players after EFL Cup defeat to Liverpool
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 29/11/16 11:56pm
Garry Monk hailed his Leeds players after they pushed Liverpool all the way in their EFL Cup quarter-final defeat on Tuesday.
The Sky Bet Championship side created the better opportunities before Divock Origi and Ben Woodburn struck late on, securing a 2-0 win for the hosts.
Leeds attacker Hadi Sacko went close after just three minutes, while Kemar Roofe struck the post with a fine curling effort after the break.
But Liverpool punished their opponents with two goals in the final 14 minutes, leaving Monk to concede grabbing the first goal proved crucial.
"I'm gutted for those players in there, I thought they were excellent," he told Sky Sports.
"We did everything but put that goal in the net, we created some of the best chances, especially early on, but we just needed that first goal. The first goal would have helped us.
"The game-plan we followed very well and on another night I think we would have come out with a different result. I think the fans should be very proud of those players."
Kyle Bartley also flashed a header wide for the visitors, who threatened their Premier League opponents with pace on the counter.
On Roofe's shot that hit the woodwork, Monk added: "I think everyone in the ground thought it was in. It was extremely unlucky, I thought it was an excellent bit of play and that quality of a finish deserved to be a goal.
"We had the chances, we looked dangerous at set pieces, and in open play we were catching them on the break like we planned.
"Unfortunately we couldn't get that first one that would have given us that extra boost and something to get into that final 15 minutes with."
Leeds return to league action against Aston Villa on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, and Monk believes his side can take plenty of positives from Merseyside.
"A defeat is a defeat," he added. "The standards that we have here, we take it very seriously. We are not happy with that result so we take that on the chin, but there are so many positives.
"I have a very young group. A lot of them will have never experienced Anfield and that quality of opposition.
"I just said to them if they keep that quality we showed tonight, that spirit as a group, we can achieve success."