Sheffield Wednesday players must take the blame says Adam Reach

Adam Reach believes Sheffield Wednesday's players must take the responsibility for the Owls' Championship slump, and not under-fire manager Jos Luhukay.

Into battle: Wednesday's Adam Reach at full stretch with Anthony Forde.

Wednesday have fallen from the play-off places to 17th after a sequence of just one win in nine games.

Disgruntled supporters have called for the Dutchman to be sacked in recent weeks, protests which are growing louder every week.

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But midfielder Reach says ‘underperforming’ players have to take responsibility following Saturday’s 2-2 stalemate with Rotherham United.

“I think it (criticism of Luhukay) is unfair,” said Reach. “We are all underperforming as players.

“That’s not the manager’s fault that we are not giving performances like we have done in the last couple of years since I have been here.

“At the end of the day it’s not about tactics or formations, it’s about working harder than the other team, winning your headers and tackles. We didn’t do that against Blackburn. We did it better (against Rotherham), but still not good enough.

“If you are in the lower half of the table you are obviously underperforming. When most of your team are underperforming you are not going to pick up the results you need.

“Confidence is low in the camp, but hopefully we are all going to try and get through this together. There’s no point in pointing fingers or getting into heated arguments, we are all in this together.”

Even Lucas Joao’s goal just before the interval failed to placate home fans against the Millers.

Their mood did not improve in the second half as goals from Michael Smith and Richie Towell – after a mistake from goalkeeper Cameron Dawson – put the Millers 2-1 in front, only for Joao to head home an equaliser.

“It’s disappointing,” said Reach. “We went in at half-time with the lead then to concede that early is just sloppy.

“We could have fallen and conceded three or four, but we dug in and got an equaliser. We pushed for that win, but sadly it didn’t come.

“It’s really difficult (playing at Hillsborough). I heard the boos at half-time when we were 1-0 up, but that’s football. The fans can boo or cheer, or ask for the manager to leave, that’s their right.

“It’s not an atmosphere for the boys to play in, but if we were putting in good performances and getting results then you wouldn’t hear that. It’s down to us to get through this.

“The fans have shown since I have been here that when things are going well they can really help the team. We need to pull it round so they can do that again.

“It’s not nice, we are not picking up wins, not playing very well. It’s not a good atmosphere, but we just have to try and get through it as quick as we can.

“We just need to start winning games. Against Rotherham we knew it would be a scrappy game, but at half-time we were very happy to go in 1-0 up.”

Wednesday, who sacked Carlos Carvalhal last year on Christmas Eve, have two games before this Christmas to improve results.

They travel to Swansea City on Saturday then host Preston North End on December 22 before three games over the festive period.

“It is vital we get some results (over Christmas), playing three games in six days,” said Reach.

“You can quickly pick up points. But firstly we have to concentrate on Swansea because they are in the top end of the table. We need to look to teams like that to start clawing back some points .

“It will be very difficult. They are only recently down from the Premier League, they have changed their philosophy and a lot of players from last season, but are coming into some good form.

“Their confidence is high and they will look at Sheffield Wednesday and think, ‘their confidence is low, so it’s going to be an easy game’. But it will be far from that because we will rally together this week and work hard in training.”

Meanwhile, Keiren Westwood, yet to start a game under Luhukay who has instead made Cameron Dawson his first-choice goalkeeper, made a surprise return to action yesterday for the club’s Under-23s.

The Republic of Ireland international played his first 45 minutes since pre-season as Wednesday’s youngsters drew 2-2 at Crewe Alexandra.

“It was Westy’s first game for a while and he negotiated it absolutely fine,” said Academy manager Neil Thompson about a draw that also saw Joost van Aken and George Boyd play the full 90 minutes.

“He was very comfortable. We gave Dan Wallis the second half. The senior boys and other lads showed good application.

“We had a right good go for 90 minutes. Just at the minute the results aren’t going our way, but we have to keep going.”

A Boyd penalty and Ben Hughes strike put the Owls two goals in front only for Crewe to hit back through Lewis Reilly and Dave Richards, the goalkeeper netting a last-gasp equaliser for the hosts.