Garry Monk on younger players and a 'dominant' Sheffield Wednesday outing at Rochdale
Garry Monk praised the efforts of his younger players after a dominant 2-0 win over Rochdale saw them enter the Carabao Cup third round for only the second time in six seasons.
Elias Kachunga and Josh Windass both scored to extend the Owls’ winning run and push on an impressive run of four consecutive clean sheets including their pre-season outing against Leicester.
Monk gave debuts to Ciaran Brennan and Conor Grant at Spotland, while fellow youngsters Alex Hunt, Liam Shaw and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru also came through what he described as a difficult test.
The Owls boss said he had no hesitation in offering out opportunities on a night that saw 10 academy graduates in the matchday squad.
"Apart from a couple of the younger ones, Granty [Conor Grant] and Ciaran Brennan making their debuts, the rest of them are first team players, it’s a first team squad,” he said.
"Alex Hunt and Shawy [Liam Shaw] have been with us since last season and we see them as first team players. Everyone else on that field tonight are first team players.
“I didn’t have any worries about putting them out as first team players, that’s what they are. We put a lot into Saturday and it was important they got minutes.”
After going into the break goalless in a sleepy first half, the Owls pushed the accelerator. Kachunga’s goal means all three of their strikers have scored this season.
“After the first half we stepped up and that’s where our fitness showed, we managed to start dominating,” Monk said. “When you look at the goals and the chances that were created, the young lads that were playing.
“Effectively we’re only three weeks into pre-season, we have to be mindful of the energy we use. But that energy and fitness shone through. The squad is going to be needed and it’s about doing that, building that fitness while winning games.
"We were ready for that, we knew we had to grind it down, we missed a couple of good opportunities go but I said to them at half-time, ‘don’t what will be written afterwards about lack of clinical edge ruin the night’. It was about making sure they go out and get their goal.”