Garry Monk previews Leeds clash with Atalanta, highlights importance of playing top-level clubs

Swansea manager Garry Monk

The Whites boss believes his club's Premier League aspiration means that they have to face top-class opposition.

Swansea manager Garry Monk

Leeds United manager Garry Monk has told the club's official website that this weekend's final friendly clash with Serie A side Atalanta is important because of the Whites' aspirations of reaching the Premier League.

Leeds face the Italian top-flight club on Saturday in their last warm-up match before kicking off their Championship season against QPR in a week-and-a-half's time.

Monk has overseen a successful pre-season campaign so far, with the Yorkshire club having won three of their four friendly matches against Irish and English opposition.

Swansea manager Garry Monk

However, they face by far the biggest test of their summer when they face Atalanta in their first home match under Monk on Saturday.

Monk believes facing such high-quality opposition is crucial for his side because of their ambition on reaching the Premier League, as his players can look to prove themselves against top-level opposition.

The ex-Swansea boss told leedsunited.com: "They’ll be very tactically astute, they have a good energy and a high class of players playing in a top league in Europe. We’re expecting a really tough test.

Swansea City manager Garry Monk

"It’s good for our young players to go through these experiences – that’s why I wanted this game. We could have settled for something of less class or something closer to our level, but our aspirations are to play in the Premier League.

"Playing against a top-level side will give our players a really good experience. In terms of class, we’re playing the biggest team of our pre-season and that’s the test you want. It’s going to be the ultimate test for us going into the new season because of the level of opposition that we’re playing, but we want to take another step forward."

Pre-season has been encouraging so far for Leeds fans; not only has it yielded three wins, but stars such as Alex Mowatt appear to have found a rich vein of form, whilst new signings such as Hadi Sacko and Marcus Antonsson have also impressed.

Supporters will be hoping that those positive signs can be carried over into the Championship season as they look to finally rise out of mid-table and begin challenging for at least a play-off place.

Swansea manager Garry Monk during the press conference

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