Sheffield Wednesday: Steve Cotterill pitches into Hillsborough surface debate

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal was happier than Steve Cotterill
Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal was happier than Steve Cotterill
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Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill criticised the state of the Hillsborough pitch after his side’s 15-match unbeaten league run came to a grinding halt.

Saturday’s clash was the first competitive fixture on the Owls’ new state-of-the-art Desso Grassmaster surface.

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Carvalhal defends “amazing” Hillsborough pitch

Wednesday spent over £1 million on having a new pitch relaid over the summer.

But Cotterill felt the pitch hindered both teams’ ability to get the ball down and play.

He joked: “I think the pitch will only get better for them[Wednesday] the more grass it grows and when they find a lawnmower. They must have lost it on Friday as it was a bit long.”

Cotterill, whose side triumphed 2-1 at Sheffield United on the opening day of their League One campaign last year, insisted: “A shorter pitch would have helped us and them.

“I didn’t think the pitch was very good for the money they have spent on it. It’s not as good as ours, that’s for sure.

“I think the grass was too long. It was sticky. Our lads came into the dressing room and said that after the warm-up. It was a slower pitch. It might have helped Sheffield Wednesday.

Carlos Carvalhal with Alex Lopez

Carlos Carvalhal with Alex Lopez

“I bet you if you asked both sets of players whether they thought the pitch was sticky and harmful to them I think they would have both said the same thing.”

Nonetheless, Cotterill refused to use the pitch as an excuse for their 2-0 reversal, saying: “I don’t think it had a bearing on the result. I just didn’t think the pitch was very good.

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“You could see it was new. It was not knitted together. There were a few lines in it and a few grooves. It will settle down. It’s not quite ready.”

Cotterill was disappointed to come away empty-handed, claiming the Robins’ played just as good as football as the Owls if not better. But he conceded they were architects of their own downfall, describing City’s marking for Tom Lees’ goal from the corner as “poor”.

However, Cotterill wished the Owls well for the rest of the campaign.

“Sheffield Wednesday are a fantastic club and good luck to them,” he said. “For their sakes, I hope they do really well.There were over 23,000 at the game and t he atmosphere was fantastic.”

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