Tony Mowbray takes his ‘footballing machine’ to Hillsborough tonight having told his players to show more bravery than they did during their tepid defeat at Stoke City last Saturday.
But the West Bromwich Albion manager rejected suggestions that his team — which has now lost five of its last seven matches and has fallen to eighth place in the Championship table — was out-battled at the Britannia Stadium three days ago.
Instead, he claimed, they were ‘out-physicalled’ by a big Stoke side that disrupted the visitors’ attempts at playing their free-flowing football and without naming names he chastened his men for lacking sufficient mental fortitude to dictate proceedings.
While he admitted frustration and disappointment at Albion’s recent run Mowbray said he would not change his attacking philosophies in favour of a more pragmatic approach.
And last night, he said, it is up to his ‘machine’ to prove it is not permanently broken by beating Sheffield Wednesday on their own patch.
"At the moment the opposition are sometimes imposing their style on us but we will get to the point where we can dominate football matches," Mowbray said. "Every manager I speak to now tells me the match reports they've had about us are quite frightening.
"It is a little bit intimidating for them that this football machine is coming to town and they get their teams wound up to stop this flowing football machine and we've got to cope with that; the best teams do.
"Man Utd have had to put up with that for 15 years. Everyone going to Old Trafford plays 4-5-1. You've got to be good enough to break it down.
"You've got to keep doing what you believe in. You get your nose bloodied along the way but let's keep doing what we believe in and push on."
Albion need to do exactly that. Their 3-0 home win over Burnley ten days ago remains their only success this month with defeats to Norwich City and Derby County also on their record.
That has seen them fall eight points behind the division’s top three despite what is widely recognised as perhaps the best squad in the competition. That quality was not apparent in the Potteries.
"We weren't brave enough to play the way we wanted to play on Saturday," he said. "We got sucked into what they are good at instead of what we are good at which was frustrating for me — the mental toughness rather than the physical toughness.
"The biggest disappointment was we didn’t retain the ball well enough even though we have got the players able to do that.
"We played similar teams before and we have dominated them in the past. We didn't dominate Stoke because we didn't spread out when we had the ball and make the pitch big enough."
Mowbray will consider giving the men who were knocked out of their stride against Stoke a chance to make amends in South Yorkshire.
He could, however recall Zoltan Gera who made a substitute appearance last weekend — his first for three weeks following a calf problem.
Defender Madjid Bougherra is Sheffield Wednesday's main concern and former Plymouth Argyle centre-back Graham Coughlan is on stand-by to start.
Kenny Lunt is available despite earning a fifth booking at the weekend, Chris Brunt is back from a ban and Wayne Andrews will deputise for Wade Small.