Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk has defended his decision to change the Owls’ formation to 3-5-2 in their defeat at Luton Town on Wednesday night, which also saw Fernando Forestieri start at left-wing-back.
That tactical change failed to help the Owls pick up a positive result at relegation threatened Luton, with the Owls looking a little disjointed at times and struggling to really get into any real rhythm in possession, and Monk decided to take off Forestieri at half time for Kadeem Harris.
Forestieri has managed to force his way back into the starting line-up over the last two matches, having started the Owls’ 1-1 draw at Barnsley, but the forward looked uncomfortable playing at left-wing-back during the first half against Luton before he was eventually taken off at the break.
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Speaking to the Sheffield Star, Monk suggested that he was hoping the change would provide his players with a lift, and that he was aiming to give the Owls more attacking emphasis by starting Forestieri at left-wing-back.
He said: “My thinking was that if confidence levels aren’t high, or belief or whatever it might be, the my job is to help them and put something on the pitch that can help them trigger that and give them something to think about and send them out there to try to be more offensive or attack-minded or have that bit more belief in themselves.
“‘I’m sending you out there because I believe you’re good players’ – that’s my job, to try those things, I’ve tried a few things in this period and it hasn’t worked.
“I wanted to try and give the players that belief and have more attacking players on the pitch. It’s difficult – Fernando likes to play off that left, he naturally drifts to the left even when you play him central.”
Monk’s decision to change to a 3-5-2 is perhaps understandable considering he was trying to attempt something new to help to give his side a platform to improve their performances, although in the end the change in shape did little to help Sheffield Wednesday in their performance at Luton.
However, what is very difficult to understand is why Monk elected to start Forestieri in a very unfamiliar left-wing-back role, with the forward really struggling to make any sort of impression on the game during the first half in that position.
Monk is right in the sense that Forestieri does like to drift out towards the left-hand side, but that does not mean that he was going to be comfortable doing the sort of disciplined defensive job that is needed from a wing-back.
You can understand why he was perhaps wanting to give Sheffield Wednesday more confidence to take the game to Luton in an attacking sense, but that served to see the Owls looking vulnerable at the back at times, and did not help them pick up the win they really needed.