Sheffield Wednesday captain Tom Lees on why the international break has come at the right time before ‘one last push’

Tom Lees says Sheffield Wednesday are grateful for the timing of the international break as it provides an opportunity for recovery before one last push for a place in the play-offs

Monday, 18th March 2019, 1:21 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 1:28 pm
Owls skipper Tom Lees. Pic Steve Ellis

The Owls maintained their unbeaten start to life under Steve Bruce with an entertaining 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers at Hillsborough on Saturday as they moved within two points of the top six.

Goals from Steven Fletcher, Dominic Iorfa, Atdhe Nuhiu and Marco Matias were enough to prevent any late comeback by the visitors, who stopped Wednesday from taking a seventh clean sheet in their last ten matches with strikes from Craig Conway and Elliott Bennett.

Owls skipper Tom Lees. Pic Steve Ellis

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And with just eight matches of the season remaining, captain Lees says the break could not have come at a better time as the squad prepare for the physical and psychological challenges ahead of them.

Speaking to the Star after the win over Blackburn, Lees said: “I think we have got a few tired bodies, it’s been a long run since the last break, we’ve got a few injuries that after the break will be ready to be involved.

“But hopefully everybody can have a good rest now and it’s one last push. For an hour or seventy minutes we were in control and probably got too comfortable.

“They made some changes and committed a lot of men forward and caused us problems and then we looked like we could have scored on the counter attack due to how many men we had forward. Luckily we had enough goals to keep ourselves clear of any trouble.”

Both Blackburn and Wednesday were without key players hit by injury in recent weeks, with Steven Fletcher and Sam Hutchinson the latest first teamers to suffer for the Owls after picking up a groin and hamstring complaint respectively.

The break in domestic fixtures will provide a vital opportunity for both players, as well as recently sidelined Fernando Forestieri and Lucas Joao, with a chance to recover and be in contention for the next Championship clash at Stoke City in 11 days’ time.

Despite those injuries and the two conceded goals, Wednesday skipper Lees was pleased to end the first ten matches of Steve Bruce’s reign on a high.

“It’s disappointing for the defenders, it’s never nice to concede goals but obviously we’ll try and get back to it the next game and do what we’ve been doing before,” he said.

“Today shows where there’s moments if you’re not quite at it, you’ll get punished. They cause teams problems and they are good going forward but luckily we were good going forward too. We were clinical with the chance that we had.

“Anybody that went on Tuesday to Bolton will know exactly how difficult it was up there and today it was very similar but I thought we tried to play the right way and we moved the ball well.”