Sheffield Wednesday: Hard work the key to Owls resurgence
Two defeats in 16 matches is a mightily impressive record.
But how have Sheffield Wednesday made themselves so hard to beat? What has been the secret to their success?
As far as Ross Wallace is concerned, there is a simple explanation for the upturn in their fortunes.
“It is hard work,” insisted the Scottish winger. “When we lose the ball, the guys are working hard to get it back. That’s why we got clapped off at the end against Derby. All the fans appreciated our efforts.
“The shape of team is good and teams are finding it hard to play against us. The manager wants us to be a difficult side to play against. When we lose the ball, he wants us to win it back (straight away).”
The 30-year-old, captured on a free-transfer last summer, is urging Wednesday to push on after outplaying automatic promotion candidates Derby County for long spells last weekend.
“We can take massive confidence from how we played,” he said. “I am disappointed we didn’t create any clear cut chances.
“I know Glenn Loovens had a header and Daniel Pudil had a shot but we didn’t make clear cut chances although our build up play was very good. We played some good stuff against one of the fancied teams in this league. For large parts of that game, we outplayed them.
“If we keep playing like that until the end of the season, we will be fine.
“Derby was the best we have played performance wise since the Arsenal game. We came a little off the gas after Arsenal. We struggled to find a little bit of form but we still ground out some wins.”
Eyebrows were raised by Wednesday’s team selection as boss Carlos Carvalhal, a big believer in squad rotation, made six changes to his starting line-up. While Wednesday are missing several key defenders, including Tom Lees and Jack Hunt, Carvalhal has the luxury of having two players fighting it out for each position.
Wallace is convinced Wednesday’s extra strength in depth will benefit them in the final few months of the campaign.
He said: “The teams who are playing the same players will become fatigued but we have got players who we can chop and change and do a good job. We have got a big squad and been rotating players so hopefully, come the back end of the season, we will still have a fresh team and kick on.”
As revealed in yesterday’s Star, Lees is unlikely to play again in 2015 because of a hamstring problem.
Wallace said: “It is big blow. Tom has played really well this season and played pretty much every game so he will be disappointed. But he is a good professional and will be back as soon as he can.
“I don’t think Michael Turner is far away from returning and we have got Sam Hutchinson so we have plenty of cover. We are disappointed for Tom but it is a chance for someone else.”