Jon Newsome's Sheffield Wednesday column: Owls have to focus on what they can control
If the Norwich City game was all we could have asked for, then the events on Saturday at Aston Villa were probably the absolute opposite.
Not only did we go down 2-0 to a struggling Villa side but add to it the sending off of Vincent Sasso, boss Carlos Carvalhall being sent to the stands and Glenn Loovens limping off with 20 minutes to go and you will probably see where I am coming from. It was not a good day at the office!
Someone once said that football was a “funny old game”, and never has it been truer than the couple of weeks or so for Sheffield Wednesday. In just seven days you go from the delights of the Norwich game, followed by the frustrations of the draw against Burton, concluded by what seemed to be a nightmare of a trip to Aston Villa. It just goes to show that results can soon change either way, especially in the Championship and you can not allow yourself to get too carried away, either up or down.
For me, Wednesday have to put the Aston Villa result behind them and move onto the next game. You can, of course, ‘pick the bones’ out of the Villa game, learn from your mistakes but realistically everybody’s energy now needs to focused on Friday night’s game against play-off rivals Reading.
For what its worth, I don’t think there should be any complaint over Sasso’s challenge resulting in a red card. In the modern game those types of challenges, tackles, call it what you want, are punished heavily, and quite rightly so in my opinion.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially in fottball and it is easy to say now that we look to be short in certain areas of the squad and yet have more than enough cover in other areas. What you can’t account for though are long-term injuries and the number of players picking up injuries all at the same time. But this is where we find ourselves now and the injury list, it seems, is growing by the day resulting in what seems to be a shortage of fit central defenders.
Hopefully Tom Lees will be fit for Reading but what the team selection will be, remains to be seen. It would be understandable to start bemoaning our luck and maybe even feeling sorry for ourselves but it is at times like this when the group has to come together, pull for each other and the team work and togetherness will hopefully get you through it.
Any team that has sustained the number of injuries as we have to experienced, first team players would find it difficult but there is no hiding place and the players coming into the team may have a point to prove.
The race for the automatic promotion places and the subsequent play-off spots are getting tighter and teams like Leeds, Huddersfield and Fulham are in a rich vein of form right now.
There will be plenty of twists and turns in the final nine matches. There are no easy games in this division.
I’m sure Carvalhal and his staff will be making sure that the players concentrate on the only thing that they can affect, their own games. What other teams do is down to them, Sheffield Wednesday cannot affect those results and every one of the remaining games has to be viewed as a cup final. I would be reminding them of the incredible experience the play-offs were last season, and challenge them to achieve them again.
Tomorrow’s game with Reading is massive for both sides. We need a super performance and win whoever is chosen.
*Jon Newsome is the owner of prestige, sports and performance cars specialists, Automarques
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