Sheffield Wednesday: '˜We must believe we can make surprises,' says Jos LuhukayÂ
Jos Luhukay, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, is demanding his players believe in themselves more following their entertaining home draw to Stoke City.
The Dutchman accused his team of showing the Potters, who have spent over Â£40m on strengthening their squad this summer, "too much respect" in the opening 25 minutes of Saturday's Hillsborough tussle.
Wednesday fell 2-0 behind before staging a stunning comeback, with goals from Marco Matias and in-form midfielder Barry Bannan rescuing them a point.
"We have opponents in the next three weeks who will be challenging for the top six in Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa and WBA," Luhukay told The Star.
"I know our programme but we must also believe in our heads that we are a good team, have quality and that we can make surprises.
"Not everyone expected us to win against Stoke but in the last days we only spoke about how we wanted to play and win against Stoke.
"We did not speak much about Stoke, maybe two days ago when we gave a presentation.
"When the team doesn't have a good feeling, you must have positive character and have the mentality to fight and come back into the game. I must give credit to the players for doing that."
Luhukay, who admitted "it would have been very difficult" to pick up a point without inspirational playmaker Bannan, accepts Wednesday must get better if they are to keep climbing the table. The draw lifted the Owls up two places to ninth, just one point shy of the play-off placings.
"We know we must do a lot of things better," said Luhukay, who made one change to his starting line-up, bringing in Steven Fletcher up front at the expense of Kosovo international Atdhe Nuhiu. "We were fantastic against Reading and we had such a high level in the training sessions in the last 10 days.
"But in the (opening) 25 minutes (on Saturday), we did not believe we are strong enough to beat Stoke.
"You see when you have the character, mentality and belief you can always comeback to get a good result in the Championship. In the end, we could have maybe scored a third but we were happy that Stoke did not score a third. We must live with 2-2."