Sheffield Wednesday: This is what Garry Monk said to his players to inspire second half improvement in their win over Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk had a simple message to his team at half-time of their match with Wigan Athletic yesterday: speed the game up.
The Owls had gone into the break with the score locked at 0-0, unable to create many opportunities to break the deadlock in what was a turgid first 45 minutes.
But after a marked improvement to the impetus of their play in the second period, they were able to claim the only goal of the game courtesy of midfielder Massimo Luongo and take three points into the international break.
Many had expected Wednesday to re-emerge from the tunnel with a new system ringing in their ears, but it was the pace of play that Monk was most concerned with.
Speaking about the first half, the 40-year-old said: “In terms of the game itself, structurally we were fine, it was good but I felt we were short of that tempo and urgency that we needed. The game dictated that, there were a lot of free kicks, a lot of goal kicks and throw-ins.
“I said to the players at half-time in those moments we need to quicken the game up. We’re at home, we need to show more ugency in those moments to get the game moving and show up quicker.
“That then allows you to dictate the tempo in the game. In the first 20 minutes of the second half that’s exactly what we did.”
Central to that instruction was the midfield three of Barry Bannan, goalscorer Luongo and Joey Pelupessy, who Monk singled out for praise after the match.
But having to ask for his side to play with more energy is something Monk says he hopes he won’t have to do again, especially at Hillsborough.
He said: “We were much improved in the second half and the lesson from that is to make sure that, especially at home, you have to up that tempo and urgency when it’s a difficult game in terms of who you’re competing against and when there are stoppages in play.
“We need to be the ones to show that tempo and urgency to do it.
“We did that much better in the second half but overall the three points was the most important thing.”