Sheffield Wednesday: Tom Lees targets return of Owls clean sheets
Centre-back Tom Lees is demanding the Owls tighten up their leaky backline so they can push on once again this campaign.
Wednesday have shipped in 14 goals in their opening 11 Championship fixtures, including two in Saturday’s Hillsborough loss to promotion hopefuls Brighton and Hove Albion.
By his own admission, Lees’ performance levels have dropped this time around, and Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal has constantly tinkered with his defence. Injuries to Sam Hutchinson, Glenn Loovens and Daniel Pudil have not allowed him to field a settled backline either and the team have so far managed to keep only three clean sheets.
It is a far cry from the last two seasons where Wednesday twice equalled club records in chalking up 17 shut-outs.
“In the last few seasons, the major bedrock of the team has been our defence and how solid we have been been,” said Lees, who made his 100th Wednesday appearance.
“But we have not kept clean sheets and keep going a goal behind and making it difficult for ourselves. You can score as many goals as you want but you are not going to win many games if you don’t keep them out either.
“If we can get a few clean sheets in a row, we can then build up our confidence. We seemed to be doing more last season in concentrating on keeping the ball out of the net.
“Last season, we just seemed to be racking up the clean sheets but it’s not going that way at the moment.
“We are going to try and do what we can to rectify it. We have to keep working on it, keep watching ourselves back and see what we can do better.”
The 25-year-old refused to pull any punches as Brighton finally ended their Hillsborough hoodoo at the 18th attempt.
“I think if we had played like we did on Saturday against any team in the league we would have lost,” he admitted.
“I don’t think Brighton did anything that caused us major problems. It was our own making.
“We weren’t good enough in all areas.
“We did have chances but we didn’t do enough to win the game.
“For us, it is disappointing as these are the games we need to be winning if we are going to do anything this season.
“I don’t think we can dress it up any other way.”