Hard work paying off for rock-solid Wednesday

Concentration, hard work, watching loads of the opposition in action and a desire to keep the ball out of the goal.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 5:40 am
Tom Lees: 'As a defender your favourite result are probably the 1-0s' - photo: Steve ||Ellis

All of the above things are why Tom Lees feels Sheffield Wednesday are now a strong defensive unit.

The statistics make pretty pleasant reading for Owls followers:

*Wednesday have accumulated five clean sheets in their last six Championship matches, including four on the trot.

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*Carlos Carvalhal’s men set a new club-record in their 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town last weekend, recording a fourth successive shut out on the road.

*The Owls have kept 15 clean sheets and are just three away from breaking the club-record across the course of a season.

Despite their impressive performances, Carvalhal insists he much prefers his team scoring goals to keeping shut outs.

Lees said: “He [Carvalhal] might say that, but I’m not sure it is true. He’s a defender himself.

“As a defender, your favourite results are probably the one nils.

“Saturday was brilliant for us. I really enjoyed it. I don’t think anyone is going to be successful if you are shipping goals so Carlos maybe telling a little lie there!”

The former Leeds United player insists it is not solely down to the defence why Wednesday have become a hard side to break down.

He said: “It’s a team effort. You saw that on Saturday by how hard the wingers worked and the forwards.

“It’s a real team effort and that’s something we have got to carry on doing as we know we have got goals in our team. We have added quality up front. If we keep clean sheets, the likelihood is we will score and win games.”

Sam Hutchinson, Lees’ teammate, remains a big doubt ahead of tonight’s showdown with Blackburn Rovers. The utility ace is still struggling to shake off an illness which ruled him out of the trip to Huddersfield. Alex Lopez deputised in the middle of the park.

“Sam is better but let’s see,” said Carvalhal.

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s Under-21s, featuring striker Caolan Lavery, secured a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City yesterday courtesy of a late strike from Ryan Meadows.