‘Unforgiving if you are not ready’ – Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce’s assessment of Stoke City and the Championship
Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce says Stoke City will be disappointed with their performance this season as they struggle with the hangover of relegation from the Premier League.
The Owls take on Nathan Jones’ Potters at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday, with the home side currently sitting 16th in the Championship.
And Wednesday chief Bruce says that Stoke have learned about the demands of life in the second tier the hard way this season.
Speaking to the media ahead of the match, he said: “I’ve witnessed it a couple of times. I’ve been involved at clubs that lose their Premier League status and it is very, very difficult to lift the spirit and morale.
“Especially you have been there a few years like Stoke. I had the bit and pieces to pick up at Aston Villa too, it’s a similar sort of thing where you are a big Premier League club, you’ve had a bad season and all of a sudden you are in the Championship.
“If you’re not mentally prepared or you are not ready for the challenge of it, it can come and bite you on the backside.
“They have found it difficult and we’ve all just said it - you look at the names on paper and the squad they have got and you think well, they should be doing better.
“The Championship, as I keep saying, is unforgiving if you’re not ready.”
Stoke have drawn their last three league matches with an identical 0-0 scoreline, while Wednesday have scored seven in their last three outings.
And although City have not met expectations and returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking, Bruce says they will still pose a challenge.
“Things change with different managers and different philosophies,” he said “They have gone down the route of a new manager, it takes time.
“Always the hangover from relegation is difficult. We have seen it last year with Swansea and again with Stoke, it’s not a given if you drop out of the Premier League, it is not a given that you can make it to the top again.
“They have drawn a lot of games. All of a sudden they have changed manager twice in a year and that’s an indication that things aren’t great.
“We will just concentrate on ourselves, let’s enjoy the rollercoaster and enjoy the ride starting with Stoke. We’ve got eight games in the next six weeks, difficult games at that. It couldn’t have been a more difficult run-in, however we have got them all to play around us which puts it in our hands.”