Darren Moore shrugs off tactical grumbles as Sheffield Wednesday go horses for courses
Subtle tweaks to a favoured system has been the plan of attack at Sheffield Wednesday this season as Darren Moore continues to gel his new-look side together while putting his own stamp on proceedings.
The Owls boss joined the club in March and saw the opening weeks of his reign decimated by illness.
Since then, though, it has been all go and after a manic summer of change his side sit just a hop outside the League One playoff places having overcome a run of four matches without a league win pace-setting Wigan Athletic on Tuesday.
Grumbles from social media throughout that sticky patch complained that Wednesday were too predictable and that Moore was too devoted to a certain system and a certain style of play.
But statistics taken from the win at Wigan show Moore has deviated from his preference to play from the back and that subtle tweaks in formation and personnel open up a range of options for a side still getting to know one another.
Latics boss Leam Richardson spoke about a shift in Wednesday’s tactics that saw them take a more direct approach and the stats bear that out.
Over one in five Wednesday passes on the evening were classified as a long pass (20.19%) by stats gurus Wyscout, a statistic that jars entirely with their last home game against Shrewsbury Town for example, where long balls were played at a rate of around one in 10 (10.22%).
In their win at Rotherham United, when Callum Paterson was again utilised as a second striker alongside Lee Gregory, they played more long balls than at any other time this season (23.58%), with their League One season-low coming against Fleetwood Town (9.98%).
Gifted a world of possession, they played long balls at a rate of only 5.93% in their Papa Johns Trophy walkover win over Newcastle United Under-23s.
Moore spoke a number of times about the need for a better balance to the Sheffield Wednesday squad and the need for flexible and versatile options. He has already proven he is not afraid to make big decisions, not least in leaving club captain Barry Bannan on the bench on Tuesday evening.
On the role Callum Paterson played in the win at Wigan, he said: “We had Pato in two different roles tonight and he caused them problems. It was difficult for the back four and two sitting midfielders to pick him up.
“That’s the versatility with him and Dennis [Adeniran]. Jaden [Brown] came in and did well. We moved Sam [Hutchinson] back into midfield.
“What we are trying to do with the players is adopt and play in different positions for the team. It's horses for courses in this league and we have to be prepared for all situations.
“It is a difficult arena. and Wigan ask different questions of you but I didn't think we allowed them many long periods to build any momentum. They threw caution to the wind after the penalty but I have got two centre-halves there and it is food and drink for them when they put it into the box.”