The memory of last January's 7-1 hammering in the FA Cup third round was erased as Alan Buckley's skilful side took Wednesday apart in their 2-0 Coca-Cola Cup second round first leg win at Blundell Park on Wednesday.
The Owls' confidence is now about as low as their league position as goals from Paul Groves and Steve Livingstone helped bridge the gulf in status and bely Grimsby's 20th place in the Second Division. Town's domination after Groves had hit the opener in the 17th minute was so great they should have added more than Livingstone's 52nd minute 18-yard strike to take back to Hillsborough for the return leg in two weeks.
Pleat said: "We have a hell of a job on our hands to turn this round and I will see what character the players have. It would be wrong to publicly criticise any of them other than to say they didn't command the authority they should have. We expected a hard game and were disappointed to lose, but we deserved to lose.
"Credit to Grimsby as they did well after they scored. They played well as a group whereas we didn't. We were sloppy Joes. We must be more aggressive all round."
Buckley was clearly thrilled by the night's events, but knows there is still a lot of hard work ahead if his side are to complete the job. He said: "We will go to Sheffield in two weeks to do ourselves justice, which is something we certainly did in this game.
"It was a terrific performance and also a footballing performance, which was important to me. The passing was good, all departments of the team functioned very well and played competitively and they supported each other too.
"The players can be pleased with their efforts as they did the club proud," the Grimsby manager added, "but I won't think about Hillsborough until the tie comes round."Reuse content