Alan Biggs: What we learned about Sheffield Wednesday after surprise hammering of Cardiff City
Teams in Sheffield Wednesday’s position don’t win 5-0 if the players are unhappy.
They don’t win 5-0 if the players are not enjoying their football.
They don’t win 5-0 full stop. Let alone against a high-riding form team like Cardiff City.
What they’d normally do is scrap and scrap, crowbar a win or draw here and there, hope to recover some confidence and belief.
Easter Monday’s result at Hillsborough takes some beating in the strange-but-true category.
Were Wednesday stung into a belated do-or-die approach by going bottom earlier in the day? If so, why no urgency before?
Darren Moore wasn’t there, isolating for the second match running, but, if there’s any logic at all in all this, it has to lead straight to the new manager’s door.
While credit where due to the players, maybe it is as much an indictment as a compliment that they look like hitting a standard just as the season is drawing to a close. And when it might still prove to be too late.
Teams who win 5-0 against Cardiff should be too good to go down.
But it is undeniably true that Moore and his staff have tapped into something that was missing. Because for all this squad’s faults - and I pointed recently to a lack of athleticism in an ageing group - we all know there is more quality at Hillsborough than the league table indicates.
Perhaps it is a liberation of that quality and an appreciation of simple pleasures, like looking to be creative and attack, that is starting to make such a marked difference.
From Garry Monk through to Tony Pulis, then Neil Thompson and finally Moore, Wednesday players have not known whether they were coming or going this season.
Were they a compact side, a defensive side or a counter-attacking one? Were they 4-4-2 or 3-5-2? No-one knew. Did they, in fact, have any identity at all? None.
When Moore arrived looking to play out from the back there was further confusion and I wondered whether it was right to impose his preferred style so early.
But players have clearly gained some pleasure from it in spite of the early setbacks. Now victories over Barnsley and Cardiff, either side of a narrow loss at Watford, have suggested the last seven games can be attacked with at least a measure of confidence.
Maybe it helps that wins are the only answer. Playing with freedom and ambition is the way to go.