Captain Glenn Loovens has warned Sheffield Wednesday must build on their impressive victory over Bristol City or risk being on the receiving end of a cup upset tonight.
Carlos Carvalhal made a winning debut in English football last weekend, overseeing a 2-0 home success over the Robins thanks to second-half strikes by Tom Lees and Lewis McGugan.
But Dutch centre-back Loovens is urging the Owls’ new-look squad to stay grounded as they prepare to take on Mansfield Town in the Capital One Cup.
He told The Star: “Every game is tough in England. You can’t afford to slack off. You need to be at your best every game.
“We have competition as well so if you slack off the manager is ready to put the next one in. That’s what it is all about. Competition keeps everyone on their toes and helps the team progress. We keep each other sharp.
“I’m glad we strengthened the squad. Hopefully we can keep each other going.
“It’s still early doors but I can feel the atmosphere is good. We have brought in some very good players. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to get used to each other but the players are adapting very quickly so it’s only going to get better from here.
“The Championship, particularly, is a physical battle so I have told the new guys to prepare for that.”
Loovens, who missed a big chunk of last season due to a serious ankle injury, was delighted with Saturday’s performance.
“It was nice to get that first win under our belt,” he said. “It was very important. It was even better the manner in which we did it.
“We created a lot of chances. We hardly gave anything away and so overall it was a good performance.”
He expects Mansfield to provide stern opposition.
“We will play against a highly motivated team,” he said. “A cup is a trophy at the end of the day. It’s an important game for us.
“It’s an opportunity for other people to step in and show the manager what they can do. Everyone can win from these games.”
Wednesday equalled a club-record of 17 league clean sheets but Loovens believes they can do even better this time around.
“It was a great achievement last year and hopefully we can do even better this year,” he said. “We are always trying to better ourselves so it won’t be any different this year.
“For us defenders, it’s a nice target to aim for.”
Loovens said he was pleased his partner-in-crime Tom Lees broke his Wednesday duck last weekend. It was the defender’s first goal in Owls colours in 49 outings.
He joked: “It’s about time after a year and a half! It was great for Tom. I’m delighted we have scored two games in a row from corners.
“It is part of our job to be dangerous at set pieces so I’m sure we will get better this year.”