This is what Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce said to his players at half time against Nottingham Forest

Steve Bruce can't have hoped for a much better reaction to his first defeat as Sheffield Wednesday boss than a comfortable 3-0 win over play-off chasing opposition.

By Nancy Frostick
Wednesday, 10 April, 2019, 15:15

And that’s exactly what his Owls team delivered against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night at Hillsborough in the wake of a cruel and disappointing 3-1 defeat to Bruce’s former club Aston Villa on Saturday.

But it wasn’t all straightforward in the match against Martin O’Neill’s side - at half time the game was still a stalemate with both sides limited to a handful of half chances.

Owls Manager Steve Bruce......Pic Steve Ellis

A buoyant Wednesday emerged from the tunnel at half time as a Marco Matias brace and a thundering strike from George Boyd wrapped up the points, but what did the Owls chief say at half time to spur such a response?

Bruce insists he just told his side to keep believing.

“You have seen after taking a kick in the ribs really on Saturday there’s one or two injuries, they have bounced back and the squad has helped get a terrific result for us,” he said.

“I just said, listen you’ve got to keep believing. We had one or two opportunities, to be fair, so did Forest. How often do we see a goal changes a game.

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“Forest changed it and left a few gaps and we’ve punished them. I was saying to George Boyd, ‘Don’t shoot Boydy, cross it!’ but what do I know. I have seen it many times from the kid. He smashes it in with his left foot and it was a great goal.

“First goal always changes a game in my opinion at this level. But it is the attitude amongst them and the spirit amongst them which is there. It wasn’t pretty at times but they’ve done the job and I’m delighted.”

The Owls have closed the gap on the top six again after the weekend’s set back, with Leeds United lying in wait in the next of Wednesday’s five remaining games.

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Yorkshire derby, Bruce said: “Have a go and who knows where it will take us. What might have been if we had had a little bit of luck on Saturday like we did against Forest.

“It’s always good to beat the ones around you, of course. But if you have seen them over the last six weeks, then you are not going to be surprised by them. They have got a good togetherness and they are playing with a bit of confidence.

“It’s a little bit of luck - we didn’t have it Saturday. Big game at the weekend, what a game that is. We will go and try our best.”