Sheffield Wednesday: Massimo Luongo on Charlton Athletic and what needs to change in the Owls changing room
Sheffield Wednesday’s Massimo Luongo believes the strength in depth at the club will play a big part in their fate as they face up with Charlton Athletic.
The clash is the Championship’s early kick off and less than 63 hours will have passed since the final whistle of their 1-1 draw with Birmingham. Luongo, back in the side after a lengthy injury lay-off, believes it is the Owls’ ability to call on their fringe players that could make all the difference.
Garry Monk made four changes to the side that faced the Blues and although the result was a source of great frustration as they went five games without a win, Luongo believes signs of recovery are showing.
“We need to have a little more belief in ourselves,” said the Australian international. “The little things that we're getting wrong, we're correcting them quickly.
“We're keeping more possession on the ball, we're not conceding a lot of goals and our final third entries today, it's more than we've had for a long time.
“We are improving, we just need to put it in the net. When we score one early, now we're doing what we're doing, we might score two, three, four.”
Luongo was utilised higher up the pitch in the Birmingham draw, in a high-energy midfield three consisting of himself, Barry Bannan and Keiran Lee.
And the 27-year-old felt the side benefited, maintaining Wednesday were unlucky to miss out on the result given the side’s positive performance overall.
“We dominated the game,” he said. “In terms of possession, we had it in the final third better than they did, I can't remember them having a shot aside from the goal.
“It was a more complete performance from us, if we'd kept out the goal we were 100% going to score. We did and it was always looking like a 1-0 win for us.
“They didn't look like they were going to score and when they did, it took us by surprise, but we did well to get back into the game.
“We're always going to make it tough for teams to beat us, I don't think a team has had an easy game against us this season.”
Next on the conveyor belt is Charlton. Having started the season as the Championship’s surprise package in the upper echelons of the division, the form of Lee Bowyer’s men has fallen sharply and they sit 17th with only one win in nine.
Despite this form Luongo says the Owls will be taking nothing for granted as they attempt to turn their own form around.
“I haven't played there in a long time, but it's always a tough place to go,” he said. “They're doing alright, they're on the same wavelength as us.
“It will be a tough game, I think the way we play and the squad depth that we have, we made a lot of changes today and put on a good performance.
“I don't know what the manager is wanting to do but the depth is there and we can put fresh legs out.”
Asked whether the quick turnaround will present an issue for the Owls of for Luongo himself, the midfielder said: “I hadn't really thought about it too much until now.
“It is what it is - that's why you have a squad, we'll use the squad and we're professionals, we all know how to cope with a quick turnaround and deliver on Saturday.
“I'm feeling good. I'm back fit. It was a hard four weeks to take out but I think it will probably benefit me in the long-run.”
Repeating the accepted wisdom that Wednesday require more luck and that they need to be more clinical in front of goal, the Australian international reiterated the need for a mentality switch. And fast.
“I feel like we need that arrogance of closing out games and that arrogance, with teams coming here [Hillsborough], we'd destroy teams,” he said.
“We've got to have that bit more belief in ourselves and our abilities. We need to think that teams are coming to Hillsborough and are not leaving with any points.
“We are a little bit like that, but I think is the whole squad comes together and we can put in that little bit extra mentally, then I think we can get up that table.”