You can’t defend the indefensible.
In 19 matches in all competitions this season, Sheffield Wednesday have failed to keep a single clean sheet and remain the only club in the Football League not to have recorded a shut-out.
“It is worrying,” admitted Owls midfielder Seyi Olofinjana. “To give yourself a chance of doing something in this league, you need to have that mentality of keeping clean sheets.
“We are working very hard towards getting there [defensively]. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of time now. 19 games and no clean sheet is not good enough by any standards.
“But I am confident because I train with the boys every day and I see how hard they are working. It is bound to happen at some time.”
Injuries have robbed the team of several senior players, including defenders Lewis Buxton, Kamil Zayatte, Martin Taylor and Anthony Gardner. There has been a lack of continuity in selection due to injuries and loss of form as former boss Dave Jones and, latterly, Stuart Gray, have tried to rectify their defensive deficiencies.
It should not be under-estimated, either, how much the Owls have missed David Prutton’s bite in the middle of the park. He is a player capable of breaking up play and giving extra protection to the back four.
Olofinjana, contracted to remain at Hillsborough up to and including the Boxing Day trip to Blackburn Rovers, bemoaned the Owls “sloppy” defensive mistake in their loss to Nottingham Forest.
But the Nigerian said: “The Forest game wasn’t as pretty as the game we played on Tuesday. For us right now, it is about consistency. We played well against Reading and then we got beat at Derby. That shouldn’t happen.
“I don’t think Forest created a lot of chances. It was a case of us getting sloppy from our own free-kick.”
First-team coach Gray is expected to remain in charge for Saturday’s clash at Watford as the Owls go in search of their first away victory since April. It was just over a week ago that manager Jones was sacked after overseeing one Championship win in 16 outings. Olofinjana feels the players are to blame for Jones losing his job.
“Dave did well to keep his job for as long as he did because if you don’t get results, you know what happens,” he said. “The players have to take a look at themselves. Dave, for all his, coaching and managerial experience, can’t play football. We are paid to play football and we are paid to win games. That’s how I look at it.”