Sheffield Wednesday’s mentality shift as another Achilles heel is dealt with

Failure to get promoted last season for Sheffield Wednesday was for a variety of reasons, many of which have since been dealt with by Darren Moore.
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One of them was goals conceded from set pieces, another was goals from wide positions, but arguably the biggest was their ability to see out games of football after taking the lead.

Wednesday have won 17 of the 20 games that they’ve taken the lead in in League One this season, losing none of them – in the 2021/22 campaign they dropped points in nine games after taking the lead, losing once.

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Last season was already an improvement on the previous one in that regard, but they’re on course to secure an even better record this time around.

A key factor for that improvement is their ability to cut out late goals, something that had been an issue long before Moore’s arrival at the club.

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In 2021/22 the Owls scored 16 times in the final 15 minutes of games, but conceded 14 times – many of which resulted in points being thrown away, points that could potentially have pushed them into the automatic promotion slots if they’d cut them out of their game.

There’s a long way to go still, but the improvement is there for all to see.

Darren Moore has worked hard to fix some of Sheffield Wednesday's frailties. (Steve Ellis)Darren Moore has worked hard to fix some of Sheffield Wednesday's frailties. (Steve Ellis)
Darren Moore has worked hard to fix some of Sheffield Wednesday's frailties. (Steve Ellis)
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After playing more than 50% of their matches this season Wednesday have already scored 11 in the final 15 minutes of their matches, but – most importantly – have only conceded three.

That Achilles heel being sorted has brought an air of calm to the final moments of Wednesday’s games that probably wasn’t there before, and it’s something that their boss is pleased about.

Speaking after their gritty 1-0 win over Cheltenham Town over the weekend, the Owls boss said, “If you heard some of the noises the boys were saying on the pitch, it was just about trying to relax. At times it felt like one or two people around the arena were losing their heads, but the lads on the pitch were keeping theirs - which is big.

“I have the beauty of standing on the touchline, and as an ex-player you know what they’re going through. There was a real calmness about them, even though it was 1-0, and they seemed assured with what they were doing.

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“The conversations they were having between themselves was excellent to hear, and they’ve come off the pitch and got the job done. There are more tests like that to come, and you learn from games like these.”

Wednesday are back in FA Cup action this weekend as Fleetwood Town return to Hillsborough, and after that they face a big week in which they face both Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town, and if the Owls can pick up three more scrappy wins then they’ll be sitting very pretty come mid-February, top of League One and into the fifth round of the cup.

The Owls take on the Cod Army at 3pm on Saturday after knocking Newcastle United out in the last round.