Video: '˜I'm just doing my job' - Laid-back Sheffield Wednesday striker plays down goalscoring form
There's always been a laid-back manner about Lucas Joao, so it should come as no surprise that the Sheffield Wednesday striker plays down his recent run of good form.
Asked about his five goal haul in the last seven league games, Joao replied, “that’s my job.”
He’s right of course but it wasn’t long ago that Joao wasn’t being given the opportunity to do that job.
Down the pecking order and, it would appear, not trusted by former coach Carlos Carvalhal to deliver up front, Joao’s impressive start to life in English football two years ago seemed a long time ago.
Still, the 24 year old is not getting carried away, especially at a time when personal achievement must be put on the back burner while the team attempt to pull themselves away from a relegation dogfight.
“It’s nice to be scoring goals, but not when we are in this position,” he said.
“I’m happy to be helping the team. Scoring goals is my job, it’s my position. I just hope I can keep helping the team.”
He added: “Strikers survive from scoring goals and the goals come from work. Of course, I’m happy to keep scoring goals.”
The idea of promotion to the Premier League is a pipe dream at present, with circumstances dictating that Sheffield Wednesday’s priorities at the end of this season are focussed at the bottom end of the table, rather than the top where they had been for the previous two years.
Even with that being the case however, Joao is not giving up hope of fulfilling his top flight ambitions in England - and he wants that to be while he’s at Hillsborough.
“Since I came to England we had the plan to go to the Premier League,” he said.
“I came here to get there with Sheffield Wednesday and I hope that will happen. We all have that objective and I hope we get there.”
Before that can happen, Wednesday need to ensure they can stay in the Championship. Currently seven points off the bottom three, the spectre of relegation haunts Hillsborough, with only the desperately poor form of teams beneath them maintaining that gap.
The Owls have won once since the turn of the year in the league - an impressive 2-0 win over Derby county during which Joao was the undoubted star with two excellent goals notched-up on the night.
Joao can’t pinpoint why Wednesday find themselves in this surprising predicament but he insists that only hard work will get them out of it. With fellow strugglers Bolton providing the next challenge, that notion should be even more important tomorrow.
“Nobody wants to be (in a relegation fight),” he said.
“We have to show the fans that we don’t want to be in this position because it is not the position Sheffield Wednesday needs to be.
“We just need to work hard and improve ourselves and prove to everybody we don’t deserve to be there.
“We need to focus on Bolton, it is three points, at home against a team that aren’t far away from us and we need to get away from them,” he added.
“The fans are waiting for a big answer from our team. We are working to try and find a solution for all our problems. We need to win. We need to win more, score more, trust each other. We work every day, helping each other. We need to work more and fight more
“Against Aston Villa we played well and lost so sometimes you lose your confidence. We have players with quality and we can sort it in the next game.”
What has become apparent is that other teams are not as fearful of Wednesday as perhaps they previously were. An example of this came last weekend.
When Bristol City came to Hillsborough in November they forfeited their lauded attacking style for a pragmatic approach in a bid to get at least a draw. The 0-0 result was one they were more than happy to take.
On Saturday past, having been on a dreadful run of results, they did all they could to ensure that despite the horrendous weather their match at Ashton Gate went ahead. It did and they won at a canter.
Bolton, too, will fancy their chances against a Wednesday side who are very clearly lacking in confidence, but Joao refutes suggestions that the Owls are an easy touch.
“No game is easy, to play against Sheffield Wednesday last year, the last two years, they don’t think we are easy,” he said. “They need to respect us because of what we did in the past. Unfortunately this is not the best year but they will respect us because it is not easy to play against us.”