Tom Lees calls on Sheffield Wednesday to deal with opponents' deep-seated game plan

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY stand-in captain Tom Lees has warned the Owls that they must learn to cope with being seen as a valuable 'scalp' to rival Championship sides.

Sheffield Wednesday's Tom Lees, right, and Leeds United's Marcus Antonsson chase a loose ball during Saturday's derby (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).

Wednesday suffered only their second home defeat since August 29 of last year in Saturday’s 2-0 derby loss to Lees’s former club Leeds United, whose game plan worked to perfection.

The result also represented the first occasion in almost 12 months that the Owls have suffered back-to-back Championship losses, with last season’s play-off finalists having endured a mixed start to the campaign.

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Urging the Owls to find answers, Lees said: “There is obviously going to be a lot of expectation on us this year.

“We have a good squad, which is one of the best squads in the league, so there is going to be expectation – so we have to deal with it.

“We are a scalp and teams are coming here to sit deep.

“Leeds made no attempt in the second half to get out of their two banks of four. They sat there and we did not find a way to break them down.

“Teams are going to do that now, so we have to find a way to break them down.”

The sight of Lees returning to the starting line-up and completing 90 minutes at the weekend after missing last week’s surprise 3-1 loss at Burton was the one of the few positives for Wednesday.

The influential centre-half, described by Owls’ head coach Carlos Carvalhal as “one of the best central defenders in England” ahead of the Leeds game, was badly missed in the setback at the Pirelli Stadium.

But he thankfully came through Saturday’s match unscathed, having injured his foot during the game at Norwich City seven days earlier following a challenge by Canaries forward Steven Naismith.

Lees added: “I got a tackle last Saturday. I thought it was a bit of a naughty one to be fair at the time. (But) I managed to finish the game.

“I woke up on Sunday and my foot had ballooned up. It was a case of I could not bare to have a boot on, let alone kick the ball.

“I was just trying to do everything I could to get the swelling off.

“I did not manage to recover in time for Tuesday, but towards the back end of the week, I managed to get my boots on again and train.

“I trained on Friday and played, so hopefully everything is alright.”