Garry Monk has spoken of the challenges of life in the Hillsborough managerial hotseat and of how his development plans are taking shape.
Monk, who took over as manager in September 2019, talked to journalist Alan Biggs on the Sheffield Live TV station after a demanding first 13 months in charge. He outlined the changes he has made, and wants to make, to progress the squad and despite starting the season with a 12-point deduction.
The Owls boss said: “I don’t regret anything. I’ve loved being here, I’ve loved joining the club, I still want to be here and to make a success of it. There is no-one more determined than me to do that.”
Looking back at last season and how Wednesday lost their way after being in third place at Christmas, he said: “Last season was a huge challenge but I enjoyed it and I learnt a heck of a lot from it.”
One big difference from the last campaign is that Monk now has his own backroom staff at S6 and he commented: “This is my first opportunity here with my own staff, to try to put my stamp on it.
“The guys I had with me last season were fantastic, great servants for the club. However, it was as difficult for them as for me.
“I think every manager will tell you, you are nothing without your staff, as good as you can be yourself you need your staff and people that know you, how you work and have that experience with you to help you implement from all angles.
“Having them with me now, I can already see the difference.”
Addressing the setback of the points deduction, Monk said: “This club is probably facing one of its hardest seasons for many, many years and there has to be a realisation of that. We realise that within and I think our fans realise that – the majority of them do, definitely.
“I am here to help us get through that while trying to progress our plans and transform the team and the way we need to move forward as a club. To create not only winning performances but a good culture and a good, young squad that has good value and dynamic about it – that’s what you need to do as a football club.”
He added: “I believe we are moving in the right direction but the be-all-and-end-all will be the results and hopefully we can keep consistent results this season and show that progress.”
One of the cornerstones of his transitional plans for the club has been to create a real togetherness and mental toughness amongst the squad.
The manager explained: “We’ve definitely made a big step in the right direction. We didn’t see that for part of the second half of last season.
“We didn’t see that enough and when the going got tough at times we didn’t see that character, that resilience and perseverance and that spirit come out.
“The truth is always on the pitch. You can talk about it in the changing room, you can see a good atmosphere around the training ground but the truth comes out on the pitch.”
Monk said he had identified such problems even in the “good times” last season and talked about it with the squad.
He added: “Last season, in the tough moments the group was not strong enough to handle it.
“We started the process of changing that from the end of last season, of setting that standard a little higher, that want for more from everyone is the only thing that’s going to be accepted … this group of players have definitely taken that on board.”
He went on: “I promise that they will be a team that will fight in every single game. So far, the team has been fighting, there has been a real commitment in their performances.
“The team has been running its heart out, fighting, it’s together, it’s a true spirit. We know how important that is for this season, especially, and that is something we are going to continue to push for to make sure we can deliver the right results.”
You can watch the full Alan Biggs interview with Garry Monk – in two parts – on Sheffield Live’s YouTube platform.