Sheffield Wednesday: ‘Special’ Matias backed to lift Owls

Owls star Marco Matias
Owls star Marco Matias

His cheeky smile could probably light up the darkest room.

But Marco Matias is seeking to win Sheffield Wednesday’s fans over through his prodigious work-rate, direct style of play and goals.

Tom Lees

Tom Lees

Given the 26-year-old has never previously played in England before in his career, he has adjusted quickly to his new surroundings.

He was the Owls’ main threat at Ipswich Town, especially in the first half when he struck the post and created Ross Wallace’s goal after a positive, surging run down the left flank. Matias, brought in from Primeira Liga side Nacional, made less of an impact after the break but the speedy forward continued to try and make things happen.

Wednesday centre-back Tom Lees told The Star: “Marco [Matias] seems to have hit the ground running and hasn’t taken long to settle in. We could tell from the first training session that he had something about him. He is going to be a very important player for us.

“You win the games at the top end of the pitch and you need special players and Marco fits into that category.

“I have been really impressed with him. He has got great work rate, is really quick and creates things.

“He has a looked a real threat and has bought into the way that maybe in this country you have to do a little bit more defending going the other way.

“His attitude has been great. He is a good guy and is easy to get on with.”

Wednesday were persuaded to pay over £1m on Matias following his impressive goal-scoring exploits last season. He bagged 20 goals in 36 appearances, leading to Malaga and Besiktas reportedly expressing an interest in his services.

Carlos Carvalhal, the Owls boss, said Matias turned down more lucrative offers to join the Championship club.

Asked if he is worried that Matias has yet to open his Wednesday account, he replied: “It is not a problem. Marco is part of the collective and that is the most important thing.

“He gets a lot of respect from our opponents and opens up spaces for other players to score like he did for Ross Wallace last week.

“It is not important who scores the goals. It is important we score the goals to win matches. We must create a positive dynamic to win games.”

One of Matias’ former Nacional teammates, Lucas Joao, has also earned plaudits following a string of eye-catching performances.

Lees said: “Lucas is strong, tall and got a good frame to work with in terms of the physicality of the English game. He’s got the pace and good movement.

“As a centre-back, that’s one thing you appreciate when you have got the ball at your feet and things are tightening up. He is always looking to play on the shoulder and every team needs a player like that because it stretches the game.

“Lewis McGugan and Alex Lopez will appreciate that because it makes the pitch bigger and allows them to get on the ball.

“Lucas is a great lad and has adapted well, as have all the boys who have come over. Hopefully he can get the goals that he will be judged on and be a big player for us this year.”

At the 49th time of asking, Lees broke his Owls duck against Bristol City, heading in Alex Lopez’s well flighted corner but the former Leeds United player accepts the defence must continue to contribute in the final third.

“Glenn and I will keep going up for corners and we know goals is something we must get better at as we didn’t do that last year,” he admitted. “I am trying to get better at scoring goals because we can’t just rely on the forwards.

“It is something I am looking to keep on improving every week and add to my game.”

Wednesday will be bidding to bounce back from the Ipswich setback when they host Reading tonight.

Lees said: “With the greatest of respect to Reading, these are the type of games we need to win. For us, it’s about getting that consistency and knowing we are going to be hard to beat every week.”