Wolves v Sheffield Wednesday: Improving strike rate essential for the Owls

HEAD COACH Carlos Carvalhal believes December will be a crucial month if Sheffield Wednesday are to reignite their automatic promotion hopes.

Carlos Carvalhal
Carlos Carvalhal

The Owls have picked up just one point from their last nine to sit ninth in the Championship, two points adrift of the top six.

Newcastle United and Brighton occupy the top two spots and there is a 10-point deficit between them and the Owls.

After going so close last season, losing in the play-off final at Wembley, the Owls had been tipped as contenders for automatic promotion.

This looks unlikely at the moment, but with a hectic December containing six games, including a televised trip to Newcastle on Boxing Day, Carvalhal remained philosophical when asked about their top-two hopes.

“I don’t know. You know I never talk about this,” he replied. “Anything can happen in the Championship.

“We are not the best or worst team of the Championship.

“We have a very competitive team and, from the first to the last second, we will try to fight for the three points.

“Nobody knows what will happen. There are six games in this competition in December so that is 18 points. If you have a good December, you can jump positions. If you have a bad month, all teams can drop down.

“I want my team to win all the points that are possible.”

Last weekend, the Owls were punished at Fulham when Scott Malone’s stoppage-time goal denied the visitors victory.

Carvalhal believes his team are playing better football than last term, but they must improve their scoring record.

The loss of top scorer Gary Hooper today with a hamstring injury hardly helps.

“We are trying to do better with our efficiency,” said the Portuguese coach. “Against Fulham, we had more clear chances than them to kill the game. We must improve this part of our game.

“We are playing better than we were last season, but the big difference is the efficiency is not the same.

“There were probably times last season when we defended well and created one or two chances and the game was more easy to us. We would then score a second with a fast attack and kill the game.

“But the efficiency of the team so far is not very high. I think we are shooting more and creating chances and playing better football.”