Manager Garry Monk hailed Sheffield Wednesday’s resilience after his team started the new Championship season with a convincing 2-0 win at promotion hopefuls Cardiff.
Wednesday went into the first game of the campaign on a points difference of minus 12 – a punishment after the club were found to have breached the English Football League’s profitability and sustainability regulations.
They brushed that off in the Welsh capital as Josh Windass scored one and made another for strike-partner Jordan Rhodes as both goals came in the first half.
Monk said: “We had desire and organisation. We took our chances well and the boys defended superbly. Unity and spirit is key to giving ourselves the best chance.
“The message at the end to ourselves and to the fans was that we are together and we are going to fight for the club and the shirt.
“But it’s one game out of 46. We are not going to get ahead of ourselves. We need that kind of performance now in the other 45 matches.
“There will be setbacks along the way, but we’re going to give it a real go. We need to recover well and do our preparation as we did here. We now have a cup game to look forward to.”
Cardiff reached last season’s Championship play-offs but they conceded after just four minutes.
Leandro Bacuna gave the ball away sloppily in midfield and Izzy Brown made him pay by slipping in Windass, who still had plenty to do but his dribble and finish was excellent.
Cardiff had 72 per cent of first-half possession but Wednesday doubled their advantage before the break when captain Barry Bannan’s free-kick was flicked on by Windass and Rhodes couldn’t miss.
Monk’s side never looked like relinquishing their lead in the second half.
Cardiff sacked winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing in the build-up to this game for a breach of contract and they never got going on the pitch.
Manager Neil Harris said: “It’s fair to say it’s been a challenging week.
“It was not a good start at all. We gave away possession for the first goal and for the second to lose the first, second and third contacts isn’t good enough.
“We didn’t show enough quality in the final third to get back into the game. We were architects of our own downfall and in the Championship you get punished. Both goals were really poor.”
Asked if Cardiff were having a hangover from missing out on promotion to the Premier League last season, Harris added: “The honest answer is I hope not.
“If there is a hangover we need to shake it off quickly but I don’t sense it at the moment.
“We need to be more fluent and make better decisions in the final third.”