Sheffield Wednesday: How Garry Monk has shored up the Owls' defence

If Wednesday are to challenge for promotion this season, it is vitally important Garry Monk's side maintain a strong defensive base.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 4:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 10:09 pm

The Owls, who currently sit in eighth position after Saturday's win over Wigan Athletic, have racked up four clean sheets from 11 Championship outings. Three of the shut-outs have come at Hillsborough where they have conceded just three times.

It is still early days in Monk's tenure, but Wednesday, marshalled superbly by German defender Julian Börner, have only shipped in three goals in the 40-year-old's opening five Championship matches.

"The structure and organisation has been there," Monk told The Star. "I have had to put something in place where we can be in games while we are not going to be the finished article and we are not going to be perfect and play the way that we all want to play.

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"We would love to play like we did at Middlesbrough every single game but it doesn't always work like that. This league doesn't always allow that.

"What we have done is compete really well."

Börner, a popular figure on and off the pitch, has worked well in tandem with Dominic Iorfa at the heart of their back line.

Moses Odubajo and Liam Palmer have stuck to their jobs well in the full-back positions and goalkeeper Keiren Westwood's form has also sharply improved in recent weeks.

Huddersfield Town's Karlan Grant battles for the ball with Sheffield Wednesday's Moses Odubajo

With injured club captain Tom Lees closing in on a first-team comeback, his return will only further increase competition for places.

Monk, whose side travel to Cardiff City after the international break, said: "I want us to be structurally good and for the mentality to be good.

"I want us to be in a competitive mindset all the time and then improve the things that need to be improved.

"We can see the things that need to be improved and the players are aware of that. I have already been through it with them but what I not have had is the time to go through all that on the training ground.

"I don't want to overload them to start with and give them seven or eight different things to think about until we get the basics right and that's when you can improve the rest."

He is pleased with how quickly the players have adapted to his methods, saying: "I think they are doing very well with it.

"I am very pleased with them and I am happy with the points tally.

"We showed a good reaction to losing to Hull, where we felt we deserved at least a point, by beating Wigan. If you want to be a good team, you have to show a good reaction."