Sheffield Wednesday: Honest Jack Hunt keen to make amends
At what point does a mini blip turn into a full-blown slump?
Since beating Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the campaign, the Owls have been dumped out of the EFL Cup at the first hurdle and picked up just one point from their last three Championship fixtures.
It is not the fast start Wednesday wanted but there are still a whopping 126 points up for grabs between now and May.
Jack Hunt, the Owls right-back, told The Star: “We are only four matches into the new season so we have got a lot more games to go. We haven’t turned into a bad team overnight.”
Hunt refused to sugarcoat the team’s display against Leeds United last Saturday. He labelled their performance “terrible”, claiming Wednesday “weren’t good enough” individually or collectively.
“What was said afterwards will stay in the dressing room but we know we weren’t good enough,” said Hunt. “After the Burton result, we wanted to put things right.
“Teams just don’t show up at times and we didn’t in a derby which is very disappointing.”
In a refreshingly honest and candid interview, Hunt accepted he under-performed versus his hometown club. Leeds exploited the space on the flanks to good effect in the second half but Hunt knows he should have done better.
He said: “I was very frustrated with my own performance. I thought I didn’t really get into the game.”
Seven new additions have arrived at S6 over the summer and it is conceivable boss Carlos Carvalhal may hand starts to the likes of Will Buckley and David Jones when they go to Brentford tomorrow in his quest to find a winning formula.
Two of Carvalhal’s summer buys: Vincent Sasso and Daniel Pudil are familiar faces, having spent last season on loan at Hillsborough, but you get the impression patience will still be required over the coming weeks.
Hunt said: “We have signed quite a few new players. They need time to gel but the core is a lot stronger this year.
“Our first two results were good this season but the last two haven’t been.
“We have a good group and will all stick together.”
Next up for Wednesday is a trip to Brentford, who sit eighth in the embryonic table.
“We picked up a positive result at Brentford last year so there’s no reason why we can’t do the same again,” stressed Hunt.
“We have to use the last two results as motivation. We have to use the hurt from the Burton and Leeds games and go again at Brentford.”
It was in West London nearly a year ago where Owls fans chanted ‘Carlos had a dream’ for the first time after their last-gasp success.
Speaking at his press briefing yesterday, Carvalhal said: “The fans follow the team and push the players all the time.
“It was a fantastic environment and the game was very exciting with the penalty and both teams having a man sent off.
“When Lucas [Joao] scored to make it 2-1, it was a big party to all of us. We can’t forgot those moments but this game will be completely different.”
The head coach hopes the Owls have learned from the Leeds setback
Carvalhal said: “We didn’t play badly. We just made a few mistakes.
“We lost our connection. I accept this and it is something we could see on the video and showed to the players.
“We have worked with the players to recover our heart and soul. We must play with our heart because this is our brand. I believe whether we win, lose or draw on Saturday I’m sure our team will answer more strong.”
Carvalhal insists he’s not overly concerned by their lack of goals. Wednesday have only managed two goals, with just one coming from open play.
Describing Fernando Forestieri, Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher as “special killers”, Carvalhal said: “I would be more worried if we weren’t creating chances.
“We have seen in the past that these players score a lot of goals. I’m sure soon they will score. They have done it in the past and will do it again in the future.
“We have had some problems but we have the players to score goals, who can create chances and who can defend. Everything is here.”