Sheffield Wednesday: Callum McManaman targets Owls promotion push after Cup exit

Callum McManaman
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Callum McManaman has described the Owls’ early FA Cup exit as not “the end of the world”, stressing promotion to the Premier League is the club’s number one priority.

Carlos Carvalhal’s men crashed out of the competition at the third round stage following Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Middlesbrough, with all of the goals coming in the second half.

Defeat means Wednesday can concentrate on cementing a place in the top-six of the second-tier. The Owls, currently occupying the final play-off position, return to league action this weekend when they welcome promotion rivals Huddersfield Town to Hillsborough.

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McManaman, brought on as a second half substitute against Boro, said: “I don’t think it (going out of the cup) is the end of the world.

“Obviously, we want to get promoted and that is the main aim, even though we wanted to win in the cup. But it was always going to be tough, especially going one-nil down.”

The loan winger admitted the Owls lacked end product in the final third at the Riverside Stadium.

“I don’t think we created enough, to be fair but I don’t think we are far off either,” said McManaman.

“But once we went one and then two-nil down, it was hard because they got men behind the ball and made it difficult for us.

“It was a tactical game and they were quite defensive, which surprised us a bit and they got behind the ball and they are good defensively and it was hard for us to break them down.

“It was definitely never a 3-0 game. Obviously, once they got to 10 men, we were chasing the game and we were desperate and ended up being wide open and that was the risk which was worth taking.”

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The 25-year-old, who started his career at Wigan Athletic, insists there is still plenty more to come from him.

McManaman said: “I need to play to get match-fit and the more games I get and the more minutes, the better I will be.

“Getting more minutes and match fitness was good for me and I felt sharp when I got on and I am now looking forward to getting 90 minutes under my belt and feeling fresh.

“I haven’t really played past the hour mark, but it shouldn’t be long (until fully match fit).”

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s home encounter with Brentford, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 28, will be rearranged for a later date following the Bees’ progression in the FA Cup. Dean Smith’s Brentford team booked their place in the fourth round after thumping National League side Eastleigh 5-1 last weekend.

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