Garry Monk insisted he would be paying little attention to Sheffield Wednesday’s lofty league position after the Owls climbed to third in the Sky Bet Championship with a 1-0 win over Stoke.
Massimo Luongo’s goal two minutes from half-time was enough for Wednesday to take all three points at Hillsborough on Tuesday, an outcome which meant they pulled to within a point of second-placed Leeds, who visit South Yorkshire this weekend.
Wednesday had to withstand an improved second-half performance from Stoke and Monk drew comparisons with Friday’s draw at Cardiff, where his side were denied by a controversial late equaliser.
“I think it’s two carbon-copy games we’ve had this week,” he said. “Very good first halves, got a deserved lead and possibly could have had more, and then second halves… a little bit self-inflicted with cheap free-kicks and scrappiness.
“What you have to do in those situations is show that organisation, spirit and fight and we’ve shown that in both games.
“We’re very unlucky not to be sat here with six points after two pretty much similar games.”
Asked about Wednesday’s league position, Monk added: “The table means nothing to me and the boys that are here.
“It’s great to be in a healthy position. It shows that you’re doing something right and you’re moving in the right direction.
“But the league table means nothing. The key is to focus with these players on their effort and commitment.”
Monk, whose side were thankful for a superb save by Cameron Dawson to deny Lee Gregory with Stoke’s best chance in the second half, revealed Luongo was forced off by a “knock on his ankle” shortly after the break, but said he was substituted as a precautionary measure.
Stoke were themselves severely impacted by injuries, with Peter Etebo and Cameron Carter-Vickers going off in the first half and Tom Edwards limping off in the closing stages.
Liam Lindsay came on for Carter-Vickers and made the mistake that led to Luongo’s winner.
“(The injuries) were a contributing factor in hindering any kind of fluency we needed,” said Stoke boss Nathan Jones, who also felt his side should have been awarded a penalty for a foul by Barry Bannan on Joe Allen.
“To lose Etebo early was a big blow for us and then to lose your centre-half… invariably the one that came on makes a big error for the only goal of the game.
“We felt we did enough in the game to get something out of it, but for me we’ve had a stonewall penalty not given and the keeper’s pulled off a wonderful save from Gregory.
“There’s a lot of contributing factors, but the reason we haven’t come away with a point is probably one refereeing decision and a big error from ourselves.”
Jones added that Carter-Vickers had sustained a cut that would have taken 15 minutes to stitch up, Etebo suffered a “pull” and that the nature of Edwards’ issue is not yet clear.