Jos Luhukay was delighted to see Sheffield Wednesday get their season up and running with a Carabao Cup first-round win over Sunderland.
Having failed to beat either Wigan or Hull in their opening two Championship matches, Wednesday triumphed at the third time of asking as goals from Marco Matias and Adam Reach secured a 2-0 success at the Stadium of Light.
The victory set up a second-round tie with Wolves, and while Luhukay is concerned at a schedule that will see his side playing six games in the space of 14 days, he is happy to have started generating some momentum after a relatively slow start to the campaign.
Luhukay said: “It’s always important to get that first win. We couldn’t win either of the first two games, so it was important to come here and get a win.
“It’s important for the confidence, and the players’ belief. There will be some changes for Sunday’s game with Brentford, but hopefully this is something to build on.
“It was a good win because it wasn’t an easy game. Sunderland played very well in the first half. They had some good chances to score, but couldn’t do it.
“We had some problems in the first half, closing down some areas and dealing with their running press from midfield.
“Our defenders didn’t find it so easy to stop them, but we changed formation in the second half and got a much better control of the midfield and with the central defenders.
“By the time we scored the second goal, that was really the moment that decided things and took us through to the next round.”
Sunderland boss Jack Ross handed first senior starts to youngsters Elliot Embleton and Denver Hume, and was delighted with the way in which the academy products responded to being on the senior stage.
Embleton was shortlisted for UEFA’s Goal of the Season award earlier this week thanks to efforts with England Under-19s, while Hume has been a regular in Sunderland’s Under-23s set-up.
Ross said: “There’s good and bad you can take from every game, but being on the pitch in a competitive first-team game is a great starting point for those young players.
“Elliot and Denver did that tonight. Bali (Mumba) has also been heavily involved in the games, and I’ve been delighted with all of them.
“Denver did really well considering we asked him to play on his wrong side. That’s a really big ask, so I thought he was terrific, and Elliot’s contribution was great as well. That’s testament to the work that’s been done at the club.
“We need to ensure that pathway is there. Our academy has a reputation for being a terrific academy, but players have to believe there’s a reason for it. They can’t get to a certain point and then feel as if they’re being moved on because that path is blocked.”
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