Sheffield Wednesday: Why Owls will cope with pressure of promotion run-in

Glenn Loovens
Glenn Loovens

Captain Glenn Loovens is adamant Sheffield Wednesday can handle the pressure of the Championship promotion run-in.

The Owls boosted their prospects of finishing in the play-off positions for the second year running by defeating second-placed Newcastle United last weekend.

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal

Carlos Carvalhal’s men head into their last five matches lying in sixth position, boasting a two-point advantage over nearest rivals Fulham.

Wednesday fell at the final hurdle last season but Loovens believes the painful loss at Wembley has made the team stronger.

The centre-back said: “We have a very experienced team. We have been through this before and I am sure we can cope better with it.

“It is always better to be in the play-off places but we cannot look too far ahead. We take it game by game and do not lose focus by looking too far ahead.”

Loovens, withdrawn at half-time against Newcastle due to a long-standing abductor injury, added: “We put pressure on ourselves because we have done well in recent seasons. If you hit a rough spell, the challenge is simply to do better.

“This is pressure we put on ourselves by doing so well.”

The Dutchman has praised the job Carvalhal, pictured inset, has done in turning the Owls into serious promotion candidates.

He said: “We have faith in him and he has faith in us. Carlos always says he has faith in every single player in the squad; they are all his choice of player and he goes through a brick wall for us and we do the same for him. So it is vital that we stay together, not only as a group of players, but as management as well. And at the end of the day, we have to do it together.”

Speaking after their impressive 2-1 win against Newcastle, head coach Carvalhal revealed Loovens played through the pain barrier in the opening 45 minutes.

“Glenn felt an old pain in his abductor,” he said. “He felt it a little more in the warm-up but he’s a fantastic professional and captain and played the first half.

“He couldn’t do more so we put Vincent Sasso on. Sasso trained very well and we had a lot of confidence him.”

Carvalhal hopes Loovens will shake off the problem in time for Friday’s clash with Cardiff City.