London – Garry Monk insists the immediate target for Middlesbrough is to gain an instant passage back to the Premier League, although the newly appointed manager realizes it will not be a straightforward task.
Middlesbrough were relegated to the Championship after finishing 19th in the top flight with just five league wins all season, but Monk is adamant the club can achieve a swift return to the Premier League.
“This club is equipped, it is ready and the ambition from all of us is to get back at the first time of asking,” Monk said at his formal unveiling on Monday. “Promotion has to be the ambition. It’s a competitive and difficult league but this club is equipped and we’re all determined to do it. That is the ambition, the objective. There is no getting away from that. That is the challenge, I would like to make it at the first attempt, but in this league it is very difficult for the teams that come down to make it back.
“Last season was one of the most competitive in the Championship in years – there’s real quality. But you have to trust your own ability. I’ve worked under pressure throughout my career. That’s how I work best. After a difficult season it’s my job to restore confidence.”
Monk resigned from his role as the Leeds United head coach at the end of the season, stating he was “unable to reach an agreement” with the new owner, Andrea Radrizzani, despite an impressive 12 months at the helm, with the club narrowly missing out on the Championship play-offs. Monk was linked with numerous jobs but after assessing his options following a short holiday he said the Middlesbrough job was hard to turn down.
“I wanted to find a club that aligned with my ambition and Middlesbrough is definitely that club,” the 38-year-old said. “My focus is doing my very best here. I had left Leeds and went away on a family holiday. Then you try to assess what your options are but as soon as I spoke to Middlesbrough I knew that was the job I wanted to take.
“Everyone knows the passion and desire Steve Gibson [the owner] has for this club. Once I spoke to him it was clear this was the right opportunity. This club has strong foundations and there’s everything in place to do well. I wanted the right challenge and all the boxes were ticked at Middlesbrough.”
The Guardian Sport