How Sunderland have used Sheffield Wednesday this season – Black Cats boss explains

Sunderland manager, Alex Neil, says that they’ve used Sheffield Wednesday a lot in their preparation for games this season.
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The Owls had very mixed results against the Black Cats this season, winning 3-0 at home before a nightmare 5-0 defeat on the road, and on Friday they head back to the Stadium of Light hoping for better.

But Neil, who wasn’t in charge for either of those games, thinks a lot has changed since then, and he says they’ve used the Owls as preparation due to them playing the same 3-5-2 formation.

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Neil told the media, "I've seen Sheffield Wednesday probably eight or nine times because we've been playing a similar shape. We use them a lot in our preparation work in terms of how other teams have gone up against them.

"The 3-0 game at their place was, for me, never a 3-0 game. We had really good moments and didn't capitalise on them.

"The home game, while a very good performance, wasn't a 5-0 game either and I was actually at that game live... The thing is, a lot has changed since then. We've changed shape and have a lot of different personnel. They certainly have strengthened through the January window. If you look at their backline at 5-0, Chey Dunkley had to go off so Liam Palmer, a right back, is in the middle of the back three. Ciaran Brennan is on the right side and Marvin Johnson, a left winger, is on the left of a back three.

"It's very different times now - and I think Sheffield Wednesday dealt with those defensive problems especially very well in the transfer window.”