Sheffield Wednesday: Trouble at home weighs on Owls

Owls midfielder Jose Semedo
Owls midfielder Jose Semedo

Jose Semedo admits Sheffield Wednesday are struggling to cope with the weight of expectation of playing in front of their own supporters.

Stuart Gray’s side host bottom-of-the-table Blackpool today, having won just two of their 11 Championship fixtures at Hillsborough this season, hitting a paltry five goals.

Wednesday’s average home attendance is 21,936 - the sixth largest in the division - and the team were cheered on by over 4,000 fans at Fulham last weekend.

When asked to explain Wednesday’s Hillsborough form in their own backyard, Semedo said: “I think it’s because of the demands from the fans. For many games they help us get the three points. I remember Barnsley at home last season. It was 0-0 until the last second, and the fans kept pushing us, not leaving the stadium, and that helped us get the three points.

“They demand the winning mentality and sometimes even the team feel the crowd puts us under a little bit of pressure.

“But we are happy with the supporters. Even at Fulham, when we were losing 4-0, they were cheering us on.

“We should do better at home, and we will work on it until the end of the season, we will improve.”

Despite Blackpool’s precarious league position, Semedo is refusing to take them lightly as the Owls look to bounce back following back-to-back league defeats, including Saturday’s 4-0 humbling at Fulham.

“Blackpool is the most important game of the season so far,” said the central midfielder. “First, everybody thinks we will win the game because they are on a bad run, and for us it’s the important because it’s our next game and we lost the last one.

“It will be difficult, we know it will not be easy. On my mind is only one thing, do everything we can to win the game.

“Coming home from Fulham was painful, to have conceded a lot of goals, but still we did some good things, particularly in the first half. But goals change games.

“What hurt us more was the type of goals we conceded. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say it was an unbelievable free-kick. But the rest of the goals we know we can do better.”

The Portuguese ace, who joined Wednesday in July 2011, has called on the team to tighten up defensively, having leaked two goals from set plays against Fulham.

He said: “It was a really difficult day at Fulham. It’s always bad when you lose, but we did some good stuff.

“We just need to sort it out, things like set-pieces. We could do nothing about the first goal, it was a fantastic goal.

“Goals changed the game. The second we tried to be more positive, get something from the game, but unfortunately conceded again.

“Until we conceded the first goal, who came closer to scoring? I think it was us. We were playing very good, and if we had got the first goal I couldn’t see us losing that game.

“We are solid in open play defensively, but we have conceded some goals from set-pieces. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen in the next game.”

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