Adam Reach says the Owls paid the price for letting complacency creep into the squad in the most recent campaign.
After two agonising near-misses, many observers expected Wednesday to be among the front-runners for promotion heading into the 2017/18 season.
But the Owls, who have invested heavily in their squad in recent years, underachieved, finishing in 15th position, a whopping 18 points adrift of the play-off placings. Their below-par performances and results cost Carlos Carvalhal his job in December and it took his replacement Jos Luhukay some time to reverse their fortunes. A crippling, unprecedented injury crisis also hindered Luhukay’s ability to stop the rot.
However, the Owls ended a disappointing year in positive fashion, winning six of their final nine matches.
Reach, who made 53 appearances in all competitions, notching four goals and chipping in with 11 assists, told The Star: “It’s natural sometimes complacency can creep in.
“I’m not speaking on behalf of the squad. This is my opinion but maybe a bit of complacency crept in and we paid the price for that.
“Over the summer and pre-season months, we will try to rectify that and we will come back in with a new attitude and a new hunger to do better.”
Wednesday were not the only club in the Championship guilty of taking their eye off the ball, according to Reach. The versatile left-sided player cited Reading as an example of another team who went backwards. The Royals, beaten on penalties in the Play-Off Final by Huddersfield Town in 2017, only avoided relegation by three points this term. Manager Jaap Stam departed in March after a run of one victory in 18 outings, with ex-Derby County and Swansea City chief with Paul Clement ensuring they stayed up.
“It was not just us (who were complacent),” stressed Reach, who was named the Owls Player of the Year. “It’s teams like Reading who came a penalty shoot-out away from reaching the Premier League and then they were on the brink of relegation.
“Every department of this club, whether it’s the players, the medical staff or higher up, need to look at themselves after every season whether it’s a positive or negative season and really think about how they can improve.”