Sheffield Wednesday: '˜Nine cup finals' left for play-off chasing Owls
Thirty seven matches down. Nine to go.
Sheffield Wednesday’s destiny is in their own hands. They are not relying on results elsewhere going their way.
Carlos Carvalhal’s side continue to occupy the final Championship play-off position after Fulham missed the chance to move above them in midweek.
The Cottagers were denied maxmimum points after Lucas Joao, on loan from Wednesday until the end of the season, stepped up off the bench to score in the fourth minute of added on time to earn Rovers a draw. Joao, pictured above, has netted three goals in his last two appearances.
As for the Owls, Carvalhal’s charges will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host play-off rivals Reading tomorrow night.
Jonathan Kodjia scored twice either side of half-time to help Aston Villa overcome 10-man Wednesday 2-0 last weekend.
Defensive midfielder David Jones has answered questions put to him by our Owls writer, Dom Howson, on the team’s display at Villa Park and their battle to go up.
DH: What was your take on the performance at Aston Villa?
DJ:We were disappointed not to get anything from the game. I thought, in terms of our general play, we were the better team but we conceded a sloppy first goal. It didn’t help when we lost [Vincent] Sasso to a red card at the beginning of the second half but we still had chances to score and pushed for an equaliser. They hit us late on with another goal. I felt both goals were avoidable.
Overall, it was a disappointing result as we felt we had the beating of them. It was just one of those days where it didn’t quite happen for us.
DH: What have you got to learn from that defeat?
DJ: We had a few chances against Villa but we didn’t take them. We need to take our chances when we are on top in games.
Throughout the season, it has been evident at times that we haven’t quite killed teams off when our play has warranted goals. It has been our Achilles heel this season.
We feel we have been in most of the games but you have to put the ball in the back of the net in key moments.
You can’t expect to dominate games for 90 minutes, especially in the Championship. There are always going to be swings in momentum, but when you are on top you need to make it count.
I just felt on Saturday we let Villaoff the hook.
DH: You’ve got quite a few injuries at the moment. How much has that affected the team’s form?
DJ: There’s no doubt that injuries do sometimes disjoint things and it does take a couple of games for new players to come in and to fit in with the swing of the team.
But we have got a good, strong, experienced squad and the manager is working hard to get us all prepared for the game on Friday.
DH: What has the mood been like in the dressing room since losing at Villa?
DJ: Everyone was disappointed but we need to move on quickly. We can’t dwell on disappointments. We still feel we are in a good position to kick on.
We’ve got another big game against Reading on Friday and we are looking forward to it. We have to give everything and see where it takes us.
It is very important we get a good reaction. We want to win and put in an energetic performance.
Good teams have a strong jaw. Teams like Brighton have responded quickly when they have had setbacks. We have demonstrated we have a strong jaw at times this season and we have to show that again against Reading.
DH: Is Reading the biggest match of the season so far?
DJ:I don’t really look at it like that. I know it is a cliché but we just take one game at a time. We never look too far ahead.
Each game is massive, especially with nine games to go. Every game is like a cup final now. We want to make a real push and get as many points as we possibly can.
I’m sure with the crowd behind us we will put in a good display against Reading. We need to embrace playing in front of a good atmosphere.
DH: How important a role do the supporters have to play?
DJ:When Hillsborough is rocking, it is a very intimidating atmosphere for away teams. We will need their help to drive us on.
You feel the fans support on matchdays. You know how much it means to them by the sheer numbers that turn up for home and away games.
The fans are right up there with the best I have experienced in my career. They get right behind the team and are vitally important for us.
We will need them between now and the end of the season.