Sheffield Wednesday: Owls must learn how to manage games warns Stuart Gray

Keiren Westwood sits gutted after Millwall's late equaliser
Keiren Westwood sits gutted after Millwall's late equaliser
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The Owls must start twisting the knife on opposition teams if they are to ensure their strong start is converted into an excellent season.

That is the verdict of head coach Stuart Gray who feels Wednesday should be sitting on a greater haul than the 17 points they have picked up to date.

The Owls have dropped six points from winning positions so far this season after being held to draws against Millwall, Ipswich and Leeds.

Had those six points been collected, Wednesday would be two points clear at the top of the Championship.

While teams are always likely to drop points, Gray believes his side’s record so far this term shows their game management skills still require some polishing.

And rather than looking at one of his side’s draws, Gray points towards the win over Middlesbrough as the perfect example.

“I look back to the Middlesbrough game and the point when we were 3-0 up and cruising,” Gray said.

“We’re chasing a fourth goal and suddenly we’re caught.

“We came away with a 3-2 win, and a great performance in the main.

“But they even had a chance in the 95th minute to get an equaliser and we’d have thrown it all away.

“It’s a learning curve for all of the lads.

“When we’re on top, we need to get in front and probably need to manage games a bit better to make sure we stay there.”

Though he feels his side ought to have more points and have conceded fewer goals, Gray is nevertheless delighted with the positivity in the camp, particularly in comparison with the same point last season.

After 11 games of the 2013/14 season, the Owls had collected just seven points, ten fewer than they currently have.

Gray said: “When you look at this time last season you’ve got to have so much self-belief and confidence.

“We’ve played some top teams and we’ve looked a very good side against these teams.

“We still have plenty to learn but the main thing for us is the confidence we have.”

The Owls began preparations for their next batch of games last Thursday after being granted a few days rest during the international break.

Gray revealed only injury victims Kamil Zayatte and Caolan Lavery were absent along with those players on international duty.

And the Wednesday chief says the break has been useful in giving those carrying minor injuries time to rest up.

He said: “It’s difficult during the regular run of games because the most you can do is give players carrying niggles a day or two off training to make sure they’re available on the Saturday.

“The break gives them a proper opportunity to rest up.

“Most of it is soft tissue issues and nothing major.”