Sheffield Wednesday look to make amends for last year's Blackburn Rovers mauling
Inept. Embarrassing. Humiliating.
Sheffield Wednesday delivered a defensive horror-show the last time they visited Ewood Park 11 months ago.
They produced an abject performance as Blackburn Rovers eased to a 4-2 win after goals either side of half-time from forwards Danny Graham (3) and Bradley Dack.
It was one of the lowest points in the 2018/19 season for the Owls, who were booed off at half-time after failing to register a shot on target.
Sheffield Wednesday: Unsavoury scenes as George Byers and Jamie Smith clash after Peterborough United substitution
Sheffield United: Loan bids received for attacking duo
Sheffield Wednesday: Reece James apologised to teammates - will be fined after red card
‘100% frustration’ – What Sheffield Wednesday’s Darren Moore said on George Byers touchline fracas
Sheffield United: Former Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos target Max Lowe comes under the manager's microscope
Their woeful showing prompted Wednesday's 3,500 travelling contingent to call for the first time head coach Jos Luhukay's head, with chants of ‘We want Jos out’ from the Darwen End the backdrop to the second half.
"It was a really bad game for myself, for the team," recalled midfielder Joey Pelupessy. "I don't know why any more but it was hard, we didn't play well, we didn't look sharp.
"We had lost a few in a row going into it and we went a little bit down in that period so maybe that's why I feel bad about that place. Hopefully we can turn it around and I have confidence in that."
Luhukay was axed two matches after the Blackburn debacle.
Since then, Lee Bullen (twice on a caretaker basis), Steve Bruce and now Garry Monk have managed the team.
Pelupessy, recruited by Luhukay in January 2018, said: "Steve Bruce came in shortly after that Blackburn game and he also changed the team a little bit. At the beginning I didn't play much so that was also hard.
"I think I learnt from those situations. I was always in the squad so that was good and I thought Steve Bruce had confidence in me because later he gave me minutes.
"He gave me the confidence but it was me who tried to work hard to show him what I could do every day. At the end of the season I played a few times in the first XI then the season finished and we had a new manager so I had to show myself again!
"At first Mr Bullen took it over, then this manager came. Every time you have to show what you can do. It's not always easy but I think you get stronger and learn from that.
"You need to keep showing what you can do otherwise you might not be involved because we have a lot of good players, a lot of quality players and a big squad so you need to make sure you are there.
"It was a period of eight months where we changed a lot of things."
Monk has brought the feelgood factor back to S6 since taking over from Bullen in early September, leading Wednesday into the Championship play-off positions. Their success under Monk has been built on a strong defence, which has shipped in just four goals in Monk's eight league matches in charge.
Asked if the Owls are going in the right direction under Monk, Pelupessy said: "I'm really confident because we showed it in the last few weeks. It's still the beginning but when I'm watching the games back I can see we're really solid, really confident, we don't give many chances away.
"That's a good thing.
“I feel it's hard for the opponent to get chances and score easily against us. At Blackburn last year we conceded four goals and it was really easy for them, and there were more games like that. I don't have that feeling now.
"We are more solid and more compact as a team. It's also to do with confidence."
Wednesday face a Blackburn outfit this weekend who have taken just two points from their last six fixtures.
But Pelupessy insisted: "It's not an easy game. I can say that about every game but I remember last year, we didn't do well and it was also a tough game. We lost 4-2.
"That was the first time I played there and I found it a tough place to go. It's a hard team. I think they defend well and don't give chances away easily so we have to be solid as we have been for the last few weeks.
"Hopefully we can score early and maybe it makes it easier for us but the most important thing is to be solid, stay in our organisation."