Sheffield Wednesday: Owls can replicate Watford success, says Daniel Pudil
The sight of his parent club Watford securing a mid-table Premier League finish and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals truly inspires Daniel Pudil.
Many bookmakers and pundits expected the Hornets to be scrapping for survival this season but, although their form tailed off towards the end of the campaign, Watford proved the doubters wrong.
They weren’t the only team who made an impact following promotion to the top-flight, either; Bournemouth also acquitted themselves well, which perhaps suggests the gap between the two division isn’t as vast as some would believe.
“It’s a big surprise to me how well Watford have done,” admitted Pudil, who helped the Hornets clinch automatic promotion 12 months ago.
“They started well and had a great season. Everyone wants to play in the Premier League and play in those big stadiums. The best players in the world play in the league so I’d like to play in there.”
Left-back Pudil has blossomed since joining Wednesday on loan last August, but admits Brighton made life difficult for the Owls in the second leg of their Play-Off semi-final: “Fair play to them as they played well,” he said.
“It was probably the toughest examination that we have been given all season; they pushed us hard, scored and we were a little under pressure.
“We didn’t know what to do. They had so much of the ball and moved it well from side to side. They played well and maybe they deserved a little bit more but that’s football.
“We made it 1-1; we were happy at half-time and we did much better in the second.”
The Owls withstood the first half onslaught to go through 3-1 on aggregate, and are just one match away from ending their 16-year top-flight exile. And Pudil, who has been selected in the Czech Republic’s provisional Euro 2016 squad, said: “I am really happy and proud of the team. Even when we have not played well this season, we have stayed calm and focused as a team.
“We showed that in the second half against Brighton. They put so many crosses and set pieces in but we defended well. We deserve to be in the final because we have worked hard for this all season.”
Saturday’s clash could be Pudil’s final appearance in Owls colours, as he is due to return to Watford in June. The 30-year-old hopes to join Wednesday on a permanent deal, even if they miss out on promotion. Whatever happens this weekend, Pudil wants to be part of the Owls’ future moving forwards.