Here is what Jos Luhukay made of Lucas Joao’s performance in Sheffield Wednesday’s loss to Middlesbrough

Lucas Joao struggled to make an impact in Sheffield Wednesday's defeat to Middlesbrough
Lucas Joao struggled to make an impact in Sheffield Wednesday's defeat to Middlesbrough

Brilliant one week. Not so good the next.

Lucas Joao is an enigma.

When the Owls forward is in the mood, he is capable of terrorising Championship defences with his skill, athleticism and speed.

Adam Reach bemoans individual errors in Sheffield Wednesday’s loss to Middlesbrough

The trouble is you never quite sure which Joao is going to turn up. He possesses all the attributes to be a top player but he is unpredictable and erratic.

Following his match-winning double off the bench at Bristol City before the international break, Joao was rewarded with a starting berth against Middlesbrough on Friday night. It was only his fifth Championship start of the campaign.

Boss Jos Luhukay is desperate for Joao to fulfil his undoubted potential and has challenged the 25-year-old to add more consistency to his performances. Should Joao produce the goods on a regular basis for Wednesday, Luhukay sees no reason why the lanky Portugal attacker can't earn an international recall.

Jos Luhukay refuses to criticise Tom Lees after Sheffield Wednesday's home defeat to Middlesbrough

Joao, deployed on the right of a front three, posed little threat to Boro's rock solid defence. His link up play was below-par and he was brushed off the ball far too easily at times.

Joao, one of two changes to the starting line-up, failed to make an impact and was withdrawn just after the hour mark.

Luhukay told The Star: "We have spoken in the last few days about consistency in performances and Lucas was not really in the game against Middlesbrough.

"Lucas is a player who can make the difference for us. He scored two goals against Bristol City but we have seen in the last weeks and months that sometimes you have to give respect to your opponents.

"Middlesbrough have conceded only seven goals in 13 games. They have a very strong defence so it was very difficult in the end to come to chances."

Joao, who has found the back of the net five times this season, has claimed 14 Championship goals as a substitute since the start of the 2015-16 season - twice as many as any other player in the league in that time.

When asked if Wednesday are better off using Joao as a sub rather than a starter, Luhukay replied: "It looks like that way but Lucas wants to play from the beginning and show his qualities. He has shown it many times in the past for us.

"But the players are not machines. We must support them.

"We played against a tough opponent in Middlesbrough. We must fight and work even harder in the next games to find our way back."