Sheffield Wednesday skipper Tom Lees delivers straight-talking rallying cry to team mates ahead of QPR FA Cup clash
Sheffield Wednesday captain Tom Lees delivered a passionate rallying cry to his Owls team mates ahead of their FA Cup fourth round clash with QPR on Friday, demanding they take individual responsibility in bouncing back from defeat against Blackburn last time out.
The centre-half, who made his 200th senior appearance for the club after coming off the bench in the 5-0 thrashing, said he wants his side to get back to basics in pursuit of a place in the fifth round and suggested that all spots in the team were now up for grabs.
QPR are expected to name a strong side for the clash and Lees, who himself has been locked in a three-way battle for minutes in the heart of defence this season, seemed to call into question the mentality of a side that has struggled for consistency.
He said: “I don’t see as a professional footballer why you would approach any game differently.
“When you speak about mentality, each player can only answer that themselves.
“If you’re asking ‘did we approach the game any differently’, or ‘did we do anything differently’ because it was Leeds or because it was Brighton, I’d say no.
“Clearly something was missing in the way we started the game and ultimately at the intensity we played at.”
Wednesday remain a big part of a congested Championship play-off battle despite having tumbled to 10th in a run of four defeats in five matches.
And while the skipper accepts the FA Cup tie offers respite from that run, it is that intensity and mental toughness he wants to see.
“Every player is an individual but when you go out you’re a team,” he said. “You have to be at it every week.
“If you’re not at it, you’ll get punished.
“Players can have bad games, no matter what level you’re at, but it was the basic things; the intensity and ultimately when we went down to 10 men not being resolute enough to withstand it.
“I can sit here and say everything that sounds right, but ultimately it’s on the pitch, isn’t it?”