VIDEO: Spirited Sheffield Wednesday determined to iron out flaws

Glenn Loovens
Glenn Loovens

Although the Owls are slowly and quietly climbing up the Championship rankings, there are still a number of flaws which need addressing.

Defensively Wednesday look suspect. You have to go back to August 13 for the last time Carlos Carvalhal’s troops kept a clean sheet. Injuries to key personnel has not allowed Carvalhal to select a settled backline, but individual errors have repeatedly cost them in the early part of the campaign.

The midfield department remains a work in progress. It still looks unbalanced and short of pace at times and there is nearly six million pounds worth of talent in David Jones and Almen Abdi waiting patiently in the wings for an opportunity to impress.

Chances continue to be created in the final third but opportunities continue to be spurned. They can ill-afford to carry on being so wasteful if they want to mount a second successive promotion push.

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While the Owls are far from perfect, they have quality where it matters and a never-say-die attitude. Carvalhal’s men have accrued a remarkable 10 points from losing positions in their last five outings. In each of their past three Hillsborough fixtures, the Owls have overturned a deficit to win.

Glenn Loovens

Glenn Loovens

Captain Glenn Loovens, brought on as a second half substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 success over Nottingham Forest for Tom Lees, told The Star: “We have shown our fighting qualities a few times this year.

“We know if we do concede first that we have the quality in the team to put it right. We left it late again but we got over the line against Forest.”

“The spirit in the team has always been good,” said Loovens. “The main thing is you just want people to work for each other and we did that.

“Sometimes you play good. Sometimes bad. But you have to always work for each other and I think we did that really well against Forest.

Kieran Lee

Kieran Lee

“In the first half, we played some good stuff and created good chances and were a bit unlucky (to go behind) but I have to give a big pat on the back to everyone. We kept on going and showed our quality in the squad.

“If someone comes off injured or is not able to play, there are other people there to step up.”

It was midfielder Kieran Lee who came to Wednesday’s rescue last weekend. The 28-year-old scored twice, his second in the 91st minute, to complete a stunning turnaround. His brace also means Lee is currently Wednesday’s top-scorer with three goals.

Loovens said: “Kieran has been unbelievable in all the time I’ve been here.

“Two minutes before the winner, he was playing next to me and I said ‘Kieran are you alright?’ and he said ‘I’m gone, I can’t go anymore’ and then all of a sudden he popped and scored the winner! That says a lot about him.

“We all know what we get from Kieran. He tracks back and pops up with goals. He does so so much dirty work for the team which is unbelievable.

“Kieran is a typical box-to-box player for me. He covers the whole of the pitch and he’s quality on the ball. He always makes the right pass and was immense against Forest.”

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Dutch centre-back Loovens, who turned 33 last week, had no complaints over Carvalhal leaving him out versus Forest.

“That’s football,” said Loovens, who has only recently returned to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to an ankle problem.

“The manager decides who plays. When he needs me, I will be there for him.”

He added: “It is good to be back out there and playing again. Hopefully I will get some more minutes under my belt soon.”

Wednesday go to lowly Blackburn Rovers searching for their first win on the road since April 2. Carvalhal’s side have failed to win any of their last nine matches away from home.

Throughout Carvalhal’s time in charge of the Owls, the team have struggled to beat the sides near the bottom on their travels. Last term, Wednesday slipped up at Charlton Athletic, MK Dons and Bolton Wanderers and they have already come unstuck at Burton Albion, who many have tipped to be in the lower reaches of the division, this time around.

Loovens acknowledged: “It is important we keep building up momentum at home and we have another important game on Tuesday.

“We haven’t won yet (away from home) so it would be a great time to get that monkey off our backs. We want to start winning sooner rather than later.”

The Owls face a Blackburn side who were bottom of the pile after collecting a paltry two points from their opening seven fixtures. However, back-to-back league wins over Rotherham United and Derby County have lifted Rovers out of the relegation zone and up to 20th.

“Blackburn have picked up some results lately so we have to be wary of them,” insisted Loovens. “I have said it many times, you can’t take any game lightly in this league and I can assure you we won’t take them lightly on Tuesday.”

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