Inconsistent Sheffield Wednesday look to cut out defensive mistakes

Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay
Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay
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"Football is a game of mistakes. Whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins."

So said Holland legend Johan Cruyff, one of the most influential people of all time in the beautiful game.

Right now, Sheffield Wednesday lack defensive solidity and their errors at the back keep coming back to haunt them.

The Owls' leaky rearguard has been breached five times since the international break. QPR brushed them aside on Tuesday, cruising to a 3-0 triumph. They scored three but could easily have had six.

Steve McClaren's side had 22 attempts on goal, with eight on target.

Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay is keen for his team to play out from the back but the team need to somehow cut out the mistakes and tighten things up. Zero clean sheets in 14 Championship matches is an alarming record.

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Luhukay told The Star: "You must always do the basics. This is a team that can make surprises but they can also be disappointing when you least expect.

"We were not strong and stable enough against QPR. We didn't play very well. When we don't play very well, we don't win games.

"When you are a top team, you win games when you maybe don't find your best form. You create chances or keep clean sheets."

The emphasis for Luhukay has been on scoring goals, rather than keeping clean shut-outs. But the Dutchman accepts that Wednesday have to stop giving themselves so much to do in matches.

He said: "We must look to ourselves at what we are not doing good and what we must do better.

"It is possible to win games when you are conceding goals but you have to be efficient with your chances. We must always have to score two or three goals to win games."

Some supporters have called on Luhukay to stop making wholesale changes to his team and play a settled side.

But after their QPR drubbing, it is likely Luhukay will freshen up his team when they travel to Birmingham City on Saturday.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Joe Wildsmith could be handed his first league start. Luhukay may decide to take first-choice shot-stopper Cameron Dawson out of the firing line and give Wildsmith a chance as the Owls look to eradicate their defensive inadequacies.

Liam Palmer, Tom Lees, Jordan Thorniley and Matt Penney are in contention to start, with Luhukay weighing up whether to revert to a 3-5-2 formation. Steven Fletcher is also pushing hard for a first-team recall in attack.

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