Sheffield Wednesday: The best is yet to come from Owls wing ace

Modou Sougou
Modou Sougou
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Pace, so they say, frightens defenders - and Modou Sougou has it to burn.

The Senegalese international made a big impression on his Sheffield Wednesday debut in midweek, bringing a potent combination of speed, power and trickery to their forward line.

He terrorised Mansfield left-back Malvind Benning throughout, creating Jose Semedo’s goal with a peach of a delivery from the right flank before completing the scoring in the closing stages.

Carlos Carvalhal, the Owls head coach, told The Star: “His performance was the big surprise of the last match. He tired a little in the last 10 minutes but he gave an amazing performance.”

It was just over a week ago Sougou, who started his career at AS Douanes in his homeland before moving to Uniao Desportiva de Leiria, penned a two-year contract at Wednesday after leaving French giants Marseille by mutual consent.

“I didn’t expect too much from Modou against Mansfield as he hadn’t played any friendly matches,” said Carvalhal. “He did pre-season at Marseille but played no friendly matches so those were the minutes he has got this season.

“I know the player very well and what qualities he can bring to the team. It was a big surprise how he played but he will do better. He is ready to help the team.”

The 30-year-old will be hoping to keep his place in the Owls’ starting line-up when they take on Ipswich Town tomorrow.

Asked what the likelihood is of Sougou and Lucas Joao starting in Suffolk following their impressive contributions on Tuesday, Carvalhal replied: “They have the same chance as all the other players in the squad. It depends on the characteristics of the opponent and what our strategy is.

“Even the players who are out of the 18, have the same chance. I will choose the 18 players that, in my opinion, will win the match.”

Wednesday lacked a killer touch in front of goal last season, firing blanks nine times at Hillsborough. Only the bottom three clubs scored fewer times than the Owls and Carvalhal is determined to rectify that this time around.

It is understood the Championship club remain keen on strengthening their strikeforce despite their promising start to the season. In recent weeks, Wednesday have been linked with Leicester City centre forward David Nugent and Cardiff City pair Adam Le Fondre and Kenwyne Jones.

Nonetheless, Carvalhal has so far been delighted with the progress they have shown in the final third.

The Portuguese said: “In the last three matches, we have scored 11 goals and conceded only once. That’s not bad.

“I’m happy with what we have at the moment. I trust my players. I don’t talk about players we don’t have.

“I must give confidence to the players that we have. We are doing very well and have a balanced team. We are creating chances, scoring goals and we want to keep that going.”

Asked if they have enough goals across the team to be successful, Carvalhal said: “It depends. I like balanced teams and teams that are good defensively and score goals.

“I like teams that understand all situations in a game. If you have a balanced team, you don’t need so many goals to do very good.”

Former Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas boss Carvalhal has vowed not to ditch their attacking style of football as they prepare for their first away test.

“Our principle and identity will all the time be the same,” he said. “We don’t want to change our idea of how we want to play. We must give the correct answers to the questions they (Ipswich) ask of us.”

Carvalhal is refusing to underestimate the threat Ipswich will pose as the Owls look to maintain their 100% record.

He said: “Our players understand that playing Bristol City is one thing and playing Ipswich is completely different.

“I’m not saying Ipswich is more difficult or easier than Bristol City but it is a different type of game.

“Bristol City played 3-5-2 whereas Ipswich play a typical 4-4-2. We respect Ipswich. They finished in the play-offs last year and have quality.

“There are no easy games in England. Even if Chelsea or Manchester United played against a division two team, nobody will say that is an easy game. We must have high concentration levels and play hard.”

Carvalhal is focused on the Owls effectively executing their game-plan and imposing their will on Ipswich.

“When we analyse Ipswich, they have a lot of strong points but all teams have weak points,” he said. “There are no perfect teams. Let’s see if we create and hit our strategy and kill the strong points that they have.”

Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, Jack Hunt, Glenn Loovens, Lewis McGugan, Ross Wallace and Atdhe Nuhiu are all likely to be recalled, having been rested against the Stags.

Carvalhal, who has confirmed Claude Dielna (toe) and Filipe Melo (knee) are still sidelined, faces a defensive selection poser, with Jeremy Helan and Rhoys Wiggins battling it out for the left-back spot.

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