Garry Monk is demanding a response from his Sheffield Wednesday flops at Hillsborough today.
Three days on from a 2-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic – which Monk admits left him “embarrassed” – the Owls boss faced the media yesterday at the club’s training ground.
And while the 40-year-old had calmed somewhat from Tuesday’s emotional post-match verdict at the DW Stadium, Monk stood by his harsh words.
“There are some players who shouldn’t be here at this club,” was one cutting Monk line. Or: “I will protect the players with my life, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes it’s obvious and glaring; you can’t protect that. I just feel embarrassment.”
Monk’s frustration had been building since Christmas, as five defeats in six Championship games saw Wednesday slide from third to 12th in the Championship.
But with the January transfer window closing last night, Monk’s desire to overhaul his squad looks to be a case of evolution rather than revolution.
In the meantime, he must continue to work with the players at his disposal, starting today with the visit of Millwall as the Owls look to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat at Hillsborough.
“I am still annoyed now,” admitted Monk yesterday, as he reflected on the Wigan fiasco.
“What is important is you reflect and then look forward.
“Football always gives you an opportunity to respond.
“I have selected a team that I feel can go out there and put that fight on the pitch.
“I expect to see that response. It is important to reflect and understand what has gone on and what has been a very frustrating month in the league.
“But the beauty of football is it gives you the opportunity to put things right.
“We know what they are capable of and have seen it already.
“It is about reminding them of the good things that they have done and what they need to go into that.”
Monk is in the middle of holding one-to-one meetings with his players, but is adamant he does not regret his midweek outburst.
“I have always been honest and open,” he said.
“What I said after the game was what I meant. I have had discussions with the players individually.
“I have not been through all of them yet but that will happen in the next few days.
“But the most important thing is we give ourselves the best opportunity to win the Millwall game.
“I don’t think there is a more perfect game to have that is going to test your mettle, character and attitude.
“For me, it is a perfect game in how difficult it is going to be.
“They are the games where you get an opportunity to prove a point and show what character you really have under that bonnet and it is what I expect to see from this team on Saturday.”
Since the Owls beat Bristol City 1-0 at Hillsborough on December 22, they have not picked up a point on home soil.
Defeats to Cardiff City, Hull City and a humiliating 5-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers, has left the Owls desperate for a positive result today, ahead of trips to relegation strugglers Barnsley and Luton Town.
“Saturday is important,” said Monk. “I expect to see a response and a reaction.
“I have had words. I have said the truth. Now they know what the truth is but the main part is to look forward as well as reflect.
“I expect that team to understand what is needed and what is expected and to deliver that on the pitch. We need to put ourselves on track.
“Part of the moving forward is to try and push the young lads and give them an opportunity.”
One player who escaped Monk’s wrath at Wigan was left-back Morgan Fox.
The defender is close to agreeing a new Owls deal – his contract expires in the summer – and has certainly impressed Monk.
“As I said after the game, he is a warrior and that is the type of spirit and attitude I want.
“We are in good talks and I expect that to be concluded ASAP.
“Morgan wants to be here and I want him to be here.
“Those are the type of players that I want to keep at a football club.
“I want players to have that attitude, spirit and to bring everything they have got.
“Those negotiations are well under way. and hopefully we can get a good conclusion in the next couple of days.”
New signings Josh Windass and Connor Wickham are not eligible to play today.