You don't see what I see! Jos Luhukay vows to keep resting his Sheffield Wednesday stars
Jos Luhukay has vowed to continue his trend of rotating the matchday squad, despite coming under criticism for fielding a side without a recognised striker on Tuesday night.
Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao started on the bench at Millwall, a match in which the Owls went on to lose 2-1.
On the face of it, Joao at least was expected to play, given that he came off the bench and got just 10 minutes of the 0-0 FA Cup draw with Swansea at the weekend.
His last start came in the impressive 2-0 win over Derby County in which the Portuguese scored twice and was described by Rams boss Gary Rowett as ‘unplayable at times’.
Neither Nuhiu nor Joao played much in the first half of the season - like many of the current side, with injuries dictating Luhukay’s selection.
And it is the fear that he may end up without a starting XI at all that is driving the manager’s decisions.
Daniel Pudil, Sean Clare and Adam Reach - who has played in almost every game this season - were also on the bench.
The Dutchman has been batting away questions regarding the starting XI at the New Den and pointed out that he, more than most, knows what physical shape his players are in.
“These players, every third day they have played,” he said.
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“I must give these players the rest. I must look to the whole squad.
“The question is very easy to see, no one sees what we see every day.
“I must protect them. It had nothing to do with winning or losing. I protect them in the last weeks and games.”
Luhukay reiterated that the players he has available to him can not continue to be pushed through what is currently a hugely demanding schedule, especially while there remains around a dozen of the squad sidelined through injury.
And if he doesn’t rotate the starting line-up, then the manager firmly believes he will end up being unable to field a team.
“These players are not in a situation where they can play every three days,” he said.
“They don’t have the energy to play every third day.
“In the last six months you can look at the minutes these players have had to play - it’s most of the time nothing.
“Then it’s games, games, every third day. They don’t have the energy to do that.
“When I do that I am 100% sure then in three or four weeks I wont have 11 players (available to play).”