“We could probably win 20 games with the chances we've had in the last four games,” Garry Monk said after Sheffield Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Birmingham City but all people really wanted to talk about here his comments before it.
Monk had no regrets about claiming Pep Clotet, his assistant manager at Swansea City, Leeds United and Birmingham before succeeding him at St Andrew's, had been “disloyal” to him at Birmingham. The Spaniard has been in caretaker charge of the Blues since Monk was sacked as manager in the summer.
He was not backing down after the game.
“Of course I could not answer it and not get involved in it,” he said when asked if he had any regrets.
“I wasn't making accusations, I wasn't making comments, I was speaking facts. I wish it wasn't true. Every part of my body wishes it wasn't true but I have to stay consistent to myself. I've been honest and open, that's how I am.
“I was asked the question so why shouldn't I be honest? I didn't do it for a reaction. I had nothing to gain from that, only criticism.
“Why would I do that if it wasn't facts?
“I know how passionate those fans are for their club and I respect that. They're going to protect their club to the last breath.
“If people don't like to hear that, I understand that. We move on.”
When pressed on what exactly his issue with Clotet was, he would not specify.
“It's difficult, isn't it, for me to say that, difficult, difficult, and not because I don't want to but I want to respect those fans.
“Should I go more into it? Every part of me says I should do but I'll leave it at that.”
Clotet offered his hand to Monk before kick-off but it was refused.
“I wanted to ask him why he said that and to offer a handshake,” Clotet explained. “One thing I love in British football is that whatever the rivalry, whatever the problems in the game, whatever happens, manners are on top of everything. When I tried to talk to him and give him my hand and the hand of Birmingham City, he refused.”
Monk countered: “It's a personal situation with someone I invested a hell of a lot emotion and time with and classed as a friend and he chose to do a different thing in the worst possible way. That cuts deep. Why should I shy away from that? I'm not going to be fake so why would I do that (shake his hand)?”
Clotet implied Monk had been disrespectful in his pre-match comments, but beyond that he was careful not to add to the feud that clearly exists between the two, certainly on Monk's side.
“At the end of the day I'm speaking on behalf of my club,” he said. “I'm just one speaker on behalf of my club so I have to be very respectful. When it comes to personal stuff we have to think a little bit before we speak.
“I worked in four different countries with fantastic managers, I had fantastic relationships, I learnt a lot.
“With Garry we had five fantastic years. I think he grew thanks to my experience and he helped me a lot. That's the image I had of him.
“Everyone knows here in England I've worked for different club and if I work for a manager or a club I put their interests before mine. All those five years with Garry that was very clear, I always put his interests before mine.
“At Leeds it was like a honeymoon and it would have been unbelievable to stay but it was not possible because of his problems and at Birmingham he put me into a position I could not hold. Everything we lived together for me was very positive and I'd hope we'd respect that in front of the media and act professionally and speak about facts.”
Clotet said that after the game he followed his usual routine of speaking to – and in this case, praising – the referee, applauding the Birmingham fans, then beginning his media duties, rather than making a second attempt to speak to Monk.
Rather optimistically the Spaniard – who commented twice on the number of journalists in the press room after the match – said: “I would like everyone to forget this. These things are said, I don't know if they're mind games, I don't know the goal of these things, but a lot of really nice and good things happened on the pitch and I don't want to take the focus off the pitch.”
Although Clotet saw it differently, the Owls were much the better side, but had to settle for a point after Alvaro Gimenez gave Birmingham the lead early in the second half against the run of play. Wednesday equalised through Kadeem Harris but were unable to push on for a winner. It was the fifth game in a row Monk's side have failed to win, despite arguably being the better side in all of them.
Moses Odubajo hit the crossbar in the first half, and Massimo Luongo had a goalbound header cleared by Lukas Jutkiewicz.
“I actually thought compared to the last few games it was as sloppy as we've been with the ball but the amount of chances we've created, we need more composure in those moments,” commented Monk. “We need a bit of luck as well.
“The good example of the work we've been doing in this period is Kadeem.
“He hit the first one, it didn't go right for him, but seconds later he got the goal. I want the players to have the belief when they have that shooting chance, to do it with conviction.”
Monk is unconcerned by his team's recent results.
“I think we've been very unfortunate how some of those chances haven't gone in,” he said.
“I have a really good group of players and their attitude is there.”