Jos Luhukay bemoans second-half performance as his side fell to a 4-2 defeat against Aston Villa

Jos Luhukay bemoans second-half performance as his side fell to a 4-2 defeat against Aston Villa

The Owls' manager was left frustrated at how his side failed to push on in the second-half on Saturday afternoon at Hillsborough.

Sam Straw

Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay was left frustrated with his side's second-half performance in the 4-2 defeat to promotion hopefuls Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon at Hillsborough

Luhukay's side were perhaps unlucky not to get something from the game as they did dominate for large periods but Villa were able to pounce when it mattered most. The Owls had gone into half-time with a 2-1 lead following goals from Sean Clare and Lucas João which came either side of a Lewis Grabban equaliser for the visitors. 

However, they failed to push on in the second-half and were pegged back once again when Glenn Whelan headed home from a superb Robert Snodgrass delivery. Conor Hourihane then sealed all three points for the Villans with only a few minutes of normal time left to play before Snodgrass added further gloss to the scoreline as he converted a penalty in injury time. 

Luhukay believes his side should have gone into half-time with a more commanding lead. He said: "I think it was a very interesting game. We had some chances to come into half-time in a more comfortable situation. In the second-half we lost a bit of control and Aston Villa came on strong."

He added: "We must do it better and we now have two days before a very important game on Tuesday. The focus is now on Tuesday; it goes very fast. This is the situation now."

Villa's quality shines through in second-half

Luhukay believes his side were perhaps unlucky not to come away with something from the game. Villa's third goal was particularly fortunate as the ball broke perfectly for Hourihane from a corner before he volleyed home into the bottom left-hand corner. 

However, the 54-year-old manager believes his side were punished for not converting their chances in key moments. He said: "It was from a corner and was a bit lucky for the midfield player of Aston Villa and he scored. The fourth goal was not good defending on the side."

He added: "We had good chances to come in with a better result. It was a very good atmosphere and there are positives for us in the end."

The home supporters were visibly frustrated with referee Neil Swarbrick throughout the match as they felt numerous decision went again their team. However, Luhukay believes that his side have only themselves to blame as they had enough chances to win the game. 

He said: "The game is now over. We had chances to win and we forgot in the important moments to score."

One concern for Luhukay is the number of goals that the Owls have conceded from set-pieces in recent times. He said that this is something he has recognised and will be working on with the players on the training ground.

He said: "It was the same situation from the free-kick and also on Tuesday it was a free-kick from Millwall. On the rebound, we are standing and looking. In the second moment, we must have focus and concentration."

Villa were clinical in front of goal at Hillsborough. (picture: Getty Images / Neville Williams)
Villa were clinical in front of goal at Hillsborough. (picture: Getty Images / Neville Williams)

Wednesday's injury list continues to mount

One player who did impress for the Owls throughout was 21-year-old academy graduate Sean Clare who had a huge influence throughout the game in midfield. The youngster scored the opening goal and could have had more, had he been more clinical in front of goal. Luhukay believes he can continue to have an impact between now and the end of the season.

He said: "I think it is a very good feeling. At the end I am happy for Sean. It was a positive situation for him."

Luhukay was left concerned with his side's performance in the second-half and knows that they must improve if they are to avoid being sucked into the relegation battle at the bottom of the Championship. He felt that as soon as Villa equalised in the second-half, the "confidence and the trust is not there" in his players. 

He added: "We are not in a comfortable situation in the league. In the moments they (Villa) must score, they scored."

The Owls boss went onto reveal further injury problems within his squad as he revealed winger Ross Wallace is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury which he picked up against Millwall on Tuesday night. 

However, one positive is that Liam Palmer is close to a return and could even play a part in the Owls' FA Cup replay against Premier League side Swansea City on Tuesday night at the Liberty Stadium.