Glenn Loovens confident Owls can become a mean machine again

GLENN Loovens is not panicking about Sheffield Wednesday's struggles to keep the back door shut.

Owls' Glenn Loovens: Aiming to tighten defence.

Wednesday’s captain has been a lynchpin in recent seasons, playing his part fully in the team that matched a club record of clean sheets in the 2015-16 season.

But Loovens and the defence as a whole have been under the microscope more recently.

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This is undoubtedly down to a poor run of form, although the Owls were able finally to grind out a win in midweek.

Wednesday overcame Millwall on Tuesday night to seal just a second win in eight outings.

The club are just three points off the Championship play-off spots despite that below-par run of results.

The victory against Millwall relieved the pressure on under-fire head coach Carlos Carvalhal.

Loovens in particular was thankful that his team-mates dug him out of a hole.

After all, the move that led to the South London club’s goal in a 2-1 home win stemmed from a mistake by Loovens.

He had the ball pinched from under his nose by Fred Onyedinma and, although his shot was saved by Keiren Westwood, Tom Elliott was on hand to prod home the equaliser.

This strike cancelled out Adam Reach’s opener, but Wednesday rallied and Jordan Rhodes’s header proved sufficient to record a much-needed win.

Despite the three points, there are still inevitable questions being posed surrounding Wednesday’s defence.

A well-oiled machine for the past three seasons, the Owls’ rearguard is suddenly under inspection after recording just two shut-outs all season – against Fulham and Leeds in 1-0 victories.

It is in stark contrast to the defence that recorded 49 clean sheets over the past three seasons. However, Dutchman Loovens said: “The clean sheets will come. Sometimes you are just dying for a win and it doesn’t matter how you get it.

“We knew it would be a tough game against Millwall. I think we played some good stuff.

“In the end, sometimes you just need a scrappy win. We now have to build on it.

“When you don’t win in football, the pressure comes. We have done so well in the past and created expectations ourselves.”