Sheffield Wednesday: Darren Moore says patience required for Owls to get up to collective speed

Darren Moore is impatient for results at Sheffield Wednesday but he is resigned to the fact it will take time.

GETTING IT RIGHT: Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis
GETTING IT RIGHT: Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore. Picture: Steve Ellis

After a good start to the season which saw the Owls keep clean sheets in their first five matches, things have wobbled since, with two defeats and a draw in League One.

Instant, sustained success was always going to be difficult for a club that made 14 summer signings and manager Moore says he cannot even think about major tactical tweaks until his players get to know one another better.

Expectations are understandably high at Hillsborough given not only the stature of the club but also the calibre of player Moore was able to recruit this summer despite being prevented from paying transfer fees by Football League-imposed restrictions. But his message to supporters is that his players must not try to run before they can walk.

Owls skipper Barry Bannan misses a first-half penalty against Shrewsbury. Picture: Steve Ellis

“We’re working extremely hard to find that rhythm over a consistent basis and we’re a new team, there’s been a rebuild and you can only integrate that with time spent on the training field,” he stressed.

“I’ve seen it in games but I’ve seen other areas we need to improve.

“The strong points keep getting stronger and you have to improve the weaker points.

“We are an industry that is results-driven but I am trying to get the message out that there’s been a huge turnaround in the summer. A huge squad rebuild.

New signing Saido Berahino scored on his full debut for Sheffield Wednesday. Picture: Steve Ellis

“We feel the players that we have brought in will give the team balance. A lot of the players we’ve brought in were free transfers. They just need volume to their game. We have had to work incredibly hard to get them up to speed.

“We have had one or two who have had niggly injuries. The longer it goes on we’re building that consistency and it’s about just getting that consistency.

“It’s about me sharing with the fans where that team is at the moment.

“While it’s been a rebuilding we still want to have that tenacity to win games. There’s a lot of hurdles to overcome. We have had a solid start but we are not happy with it.”

The Owls flitted between different formations as they unsuccessfully fought Championship relegation late last season, but so far in 2021-22 they have been resolutely in the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 shape he stuck religiously to at previous club Doncaster Rovers. Some fans would be reassured by the sight of an extra centre-forward.

“We are a new team and the first thing that’s got to come is what we’re about as a team,” explained Moore. “Once the boys nail that down and we find that level of consistency you can start tweaking the shapes and formations and specific jobs.

“There’s going to be times where you need a settled side and others where, like at Rotherham, we make five changes. In essence that will be dictated by the fixtures and how players are feeling at the time and if we can keep players on the pitch.

“It’s not trying to run before you can walk.

“Though we feel there’s been solid performances along the way. We know with the big turnaround we’ve got to be learning from it.

“We feel we’re a group and a team with so much more to come from us but we’re working hard every single day.

“Am I happy with the progress? Yes. Am I completely satisfied? No, because there’s so much work to be done.”

It is clear what Moore needs to work most on. Only Plymouth Argyle and Portsmouth (four each) have conceded fewer League One goals this season but Pompey are also the only top-20 team to have scored fewer than their six.

Saturday’s goalscoring full debut for summer signing Saido Berahino – who started wide to preserve the preferred shape – was hopefully a step in the right direction but Moore is looking for collective solutions rather than individual brilliance.

He is also committed to a passing style of play.

“In my opinion it’s the right way,” he said. “It’s not the only way.

“If the opportunity’s on for us to play forwards we will do that.

“Without a doubt with games you start understanding players more and see relationships more. As the season settles down we’re getting those attacking players fit and ready.

“We feel we have got attacking players suited for certain opposition where we feel we can exploit the spaces.

“The biggest thing we’ve been working on with those players is those relationships. I’m sure they will score goals.”

The Owls finish September with two big away tests at Ipswich Town, a club with similar expectations adapting slowly to a similar overhaul, and leaders Wigan Athletic.