Sheffield Wednesday: Rowett slams Hillsborough pitch

Birmingham manager Gary Rowett criticised the state of Sheffield Wednesday’s pitch and said his players might have been better off wearing flip-flops in their goalless draw at Hillsborough last night.

Owls boss Stuart Gray admitted recently that the winter weather in Sheffield in the last few weeks had left the Hillsborough surface below its best and Rowett believes that played a key role in the outcome on Tuesday night.

Birmingham boss Gary Rowett.

Birmingham boss Gary Rowett.

Rowett said: “Under the circumstances, I think that’s a fantastic, gritty performance and a very, very good clean sheet and point for us.

“I think the pitch had a complete bearing on the game, probably a hundred per cent bearing on the game.

“I’m not going to sit here and berate Sheffield Wednesday for that pitch but you can’t play football on it and you can’t get the ball down and play.

“I almost embarrassingly said to the players at half-time: ‘Listen, just kick the ball as far as you can down the pitch and just play for seconds and see if you can land on something and break’.

“There was no way you were going to be able to pass the ball up the pitch with any sort of control.

“There were was that much sand, the players might have been better of playing in bare feet or in flip-flops rather than boots.

“It just made for a very difficult game of football.”

Wednesday boss Stuart Gray also felt the pitch affected the game but thought his side should have scraped all three points.

“Credit to Gary, I think they got beaten 8-0 at home to Bournemouth and since then he’s decided to defend deep and play compact and probably hit you on the break,” he said.

“That’s the way he’s set his team up and it’s up to us to break them down and probably our only real bit of quality in the first half was Jacques Maghoma’s chance.

“The pitch isn’t the best but it’s the same for both teams. I want to get the ball down and play but unfortunately for players, they are tensing up because the ball’s bouncing all over the place.”

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