Sheffield Wednesday: Antonio aims to regain top form

Michail Antonio in the challenge that resulted in his injury
Michail Antonio in the challenge that resulted in his injury

Michail Antonio feels that he is still paying the price for what he rates as the worst injury of his career.

But the Owls forward is determined to regain the form that made him a star last season.

His collision with Cardiff defender Leon Barnett in March tore his groin and kept him out for four months.

Now last season’s Wednesday top scorer has talked about this setback for the first time and set his sights on a revival for him and the team.

His personal blow came after he and Barnett jumped for a ball when running towards the Kop end.

“He landed on top of me with all his body weight when my legs were apart; it was very painful; I’ve never had such a bad injury before,” Antonio told The Star.

“I missed quite a lot of pre-season; pre-season is important because it gives you what you need to start the season. Missing it will affect you.”

He was introduced to matchplay gradually: “My first 20 minutes was against Steaua Bucharest after one day’s full training.

“Right now, I’m trying to get back to my old self and get back to my best. Match fitness is a different thing from running fitness

“I feel sometimes I’m not performing as well as I did last season, but I feel better with every game I play.”

A scorer of nine goals last season, he has yet to get off the mark but has been a threat to defences; he has had some chances and thinks he should have been awarded four penalties.

“I should have had three goals,” he reflects, “and especially on Saturday {against Millwall) I should have got on the scoresheet.

“But if you keep getting opportunities, you’re going to score.

“I do think it’s been rustiness, because I was getting opportunities last season and scoring. Hopefully that will happen again.” The team as a whole can get results, he believes: “We’ve performed well on occasions, like at QPR.

“We just had a 10-minute bad spell, against a good team, and they punished us.

“We destroyed Burnley but paid for a five-minute mishap; we got a good point at Leeds; we were all over Millwall then gave away a stupid penalty.”

He has played on the wing and up front though the forward pool has been augmented by Atdhe Nuhiu and Jacques Maghoma: “I’m happy to be playing; there’s extra competition.

“I do like being out wide and taking players on, but I also like playing up top, because I’m in the game more often.”

He will head to Middlesbrough on Saturday with confidence: “A win is important.

“We know we’ve only got two points on the board and haven’t taken opportunities.

“But if we play as well as we mostly did in the games so far, we should be able to get the three points, “