Sheffield Wednesday: No need to panic, insists Owls chief Jos Luhukay
Manager Jos Luhukay is refusing to panic despite Sheffield Wednesday's woeful run of form.
The Owls have recorded a meagre four wins from their last 23 competitive matches (W4 D10 L9).
Big things were expected of Wednesday at the beginning of the 2017/18 season following two promotion near-misses but the team are currently in 17th position, just seven points above the Championship relegation zone.
To compound the Owls’ misery, Luhukay’s team were knocked out of the FA Cup last night. Second half strikes from substitute Jordan Ayew and Nathan Dyer ensured Carlos Carvalhal’s Swansea City outfit advanced to the quarter-finals at the expense of the club he left on Christmas Eve. It was Wednesday’s third straight loss in all competitions.
Now the Owls face a daunting trip to seventh-placed Bristol City this weekend looking to claim their first away win since Boxing Day. Indeed, Wednesday, without nearly a dozen first-team players through injury, have fired blanks in five of their last seven outings on the road.
But Luhukay is backing his players to rectify their results.
“I’m not concerned,” he told The Star. “We have played very well against Aston Villa, Derby and Cardiff. They are three clubs that are playing for promotion to the Premier League but we performed well at home.
“The result was not good against Villa but we competed well.
“I’m not afraid of our situation in the league. We must handle that and we will try to play well on Saturday.
“We will try on Saturday to bring the points back to Sheffield and then focus on Ipswich.”
As for the Swans, victory booked their place in the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 1964.
Carvalhal, who spent two and a half years in charge of the Owls, pointed inside his jacket for inspiration ahead of a quarter-finals meeting against either Tottenham or Rochdale.
Asked if he would allow his players to dream of cup glory, Swansea boss Carvalhal replied: “I have ‘Carlos had a dream’ written here in my jacket.
“All of us have dreams - the people who don’t have dreams are not happy people I think.
“The main competition for us is the Premier League, but we will have a week to prepare for the quarter-final, which is important, and we are near (to the end of the competition) now. We have 90 minutes to try to get Wembley (for the semi-final) so let’s see what happens.”
In freezing sub-zero conditions in South Wales, the Swans struggled to break down the Owls’ resilient, compact backline.
“Sheffield Wednesday created problems for us in the first game and also again,” Carvalhal said.
“But I thought we had more opportunities in this game.
“We needed a bit more intensity and a bit more speed in the second half, and that’s why we put Jordan and Martin Olsson on at half-time.
“We felt after a couple of minutes that we could score and we did that.”
Meanwhile, Alex Hunt has been nominated for the January LFE Goal of the Month award. Hunt, who recently signed his maiden pro contract, scored a long range stunner against Hull City at Middlewood Road last month. The midfielder has been part of Wednesday’s academy since the age of seven.